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NDAK ready to turn into ‘Border Guard’ force


Chiang Mai/Ruili – The ethnic armed group, the New Democratic Army – Kachin (NDAK), which has a ceasefire agreement with the ruling Burmese junta, has consented to the regime’s proposal of transforming its army into a ‘Border Guard’ force.

NDAK Chairman Zahkung Ting Ying in an interview to Mizzima on Thursday said it had accepted the junta’s proposal to change its army into a border guard force during a meeting with the junta’s Northern Military Commander Brig-Gen Soe Win on June 24 at the NDAK headquarters in Pang Wa.

“We had the meeting in our headquarters. We discussed transforming our army into the border guard and we agreed to do it. We believe we will be able to transform our army,” Zahkung Ting Ying said.

“We are ceasefire groups. We are not armed rebels fighting against the country. We want to transform our army to be able to continue guarding our region,” he added.

The meeting, held in the Sino-Burma border town, was arranged by the Burmese junta. The junta’s delegates was led by Northern Commander Brig-Gen Soe Win along with several other officials, the NDAK was represented by Chairman Zahkung Ting Ying and several other officials.

Zahkung Ting Ying said, the group will form a political party and contest the 2010 general elections. They have demanded that the junta give the right of self-governance to Kachin ethnics.

“At this stage, we are only at the level of demanding special privileges as an ethnic group of the country. But after transformation, the armed groups will be different and those without arms will need to restart our lives again,” he added.

The NDAK is one of the first armed ceasefire groups that the junta wanted to transform into a border guard force. Other groups such as the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and United Wa State Army (UWSA) have rejected the proposal.

Sources close to KIO said leaders of the KIO during a meeting with Brig-Gen Soe Win in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state on June 20, rejected the proposal.

Similarly, the UWSA, during its meeting with the junta’s Military Affairs Security (MAS) Chief Lt-Gen Ye Myint on June 7 in Panghsang, rejected the junta’s proposal. Following the rejection, fresh tension was triggered between the groups and the junta. This has resulted in the junta reinforcing its troops based in northern and eastern Burma, an official of the UWSA told Mizzima.

Both the UWSA and KIO, though they have rejected the proposal, said they are willing to hold talks with the new government that will be formed after the election in 2010.

The Zahkung Ting Ying led NDAK is a splinter group of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), which was formed in 1961 to fight for self-determination of the Kachin people. The NDAK was earlier the 3rd Brigade of the Kachin Independence Army, the armed wing of KIO, which was set up in Pang Wa region in 1968.

Later the NDAK joined the Burma Communist Party’s (BCP) as the 101 military region but broke off with the BCP and on December 15, 1989 the group signed a ceasefire peace pact with the ruling junta.

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 June 2009 11:44 )  

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