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Junta allows KIO to wear uniforms at Manau festival

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Junta’s Northern Command Commander has allowed the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) officers and soldiers to attend the 62nd Kachin State Day Manau festival in military uniforms.

Earlier, the Northern Command commander Maj. Gen. Soe Win ordered KIO members on December 31 not to attend the festival in military uniforms because it created tension between it and the Burmese Army. Now he has re-allowed KIO to attend the festival in uniforms, a KIO officer said.manaw-festival
Allowing them uniforms again was communicated by Military Affairs Security (MAS), Military Intelligence, Col. Thet Pone to KIO Secretary Dr. La Ja yesterday over telephone. It was also conveyed by a letter to KIO Liaison office in Myitkyina.

“He told us that we had to work together forever so we could wear uniforms. First we decided not to attend the festival in plainclothes,” the KIO officer said.

Initially, the junta prohibited KIO from wearing uniforms at the festival so we held a meeting at Laiza headquarters on January 6 and discussed the matter. Then we decided to send only representatives to the festival.

After this, KIO Chairman Zau Hara, Vice-Chairman U En Ban La, Secretary Dr. Laja, CC members U Lamar Gwan Phang, U Sinn Wah, U Lajaung Khau Lwan and others making up seven top leaders, including KIO women’s wing members, and over 100 Kachin soldiers attended the festival today. Last year, over 1,000 KIO members and soldiers attended and danced at the Manau festival.

In this year’s festival, the people were not allowed to dance carrying traditional weapons – the flintlock and crossbow, at the festival venue.

Kachin State Day ceremony was formally opened at 8 a.m. today by cutting a ribbon and a holding prayer service. Over 1,000 university students, cultural art troupes and six organizations danced at the festival, a  participant said.

Kachin State Day falls on 10 January and is being observed from 5 to 11 January at the Manau festival ground.  There is tight security at the venue guarded by the northern regional command, a Manau festival organizing committee member said.

manaw-festival2Armed security forces were deployed at nearby Sitapu, Dukathaung, Thida, InjanKaung, Tatkone wards and villages.

Military officers sent from Naypyidaw instructed the festival organizing committee to publish their festival bulletin being published since 2005 in both languages, Burmese and Kachin, this year. Previously this bulletin was published only in Kahcin language. All articles and news appearing this year have to be translated to Burmese language and the junta officers are monitoring them.

They could publish the bulletin called ‘(62) Ning Hpring Mungdaw Hhtoi’ in Kachin language and ‘62nd Kahcin State Day Manu Festival Bulletin’ in Burmese this afternoon. But they have to print the junta’s propaganda motto in this bulletin, Thailand-based Kachin News Group (KNG) said.

The militia group led by Lasan Awng Wah which is a breakaway faction of KIO and another breakaway faction the NDA-K, which has been transformed into junta controlled Border Guard Force (BGF), attended the festiva today.

Famous singers Lay Phyu, Ah Nge, Wai Wai, Myo Gyi, Chan Chan, Shin Phone will perform in the festival tonight and tomorrow night along with the popular Iron Cross music band.

Last Updated ( Monday, 11 January 2010 17:48 )  

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