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KIO continues to oppose BGF

Ruili (Mizzima) – An adamant Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), continuing to oppose conversion of its armed wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) into the Border Guard Force (BGF) said, while marking the 49th Kachin Resistance Day, today that it would continue to demand ethnic rights.

In his address sent to the Kachin Resistance Day celebrations held in Laiza in Kachin State this morning, KIO Chiarman  U Zawng Hra said that they wanted ethnic rights as envisaged in the historic Panlong Agreement, which was the key to establishing a Union during the independence struggle.

“Our organization is not for money and not for killing people. We are still into revolutionary struggle for self-determination rights agreed to in the Panlong Agreement long ago but which remain unfulfilled till today. If the junta is adamant about the BGF, we will reiterate our demands based on the Panlong Agreement,” a KIO administrative official who attended the ceremony told Mizzima.

The junta has been pressurizing all ethnic armed ceasefire groups to transform their troops into the BGF. The KIO on its part has had parleys with Burmese Army brass on this contentious issue 11 times till the end of last month but there has been no breakthrough. Amidst the impasse, the KIO Chairman has reiterated the outfit’s position rejecting the BGF in his address today.

The Kachin Resistance Day held in Laiza was on a small scale and attended by 500 guests.

“According to the ceremony agenda, KIO Forest and Agricultural Minister Col. Nau San read out the Chairman’s speech. Then Home Minister Chieftain Dwe Li Sa expounded on the speech. After which the list of enlisted personnel with over 10 to 40 years service was read out,” a KIO officer said.

Most KIO central committee members did not attend today’s ceremony. The sports meet was slated for the afternoon and entertainment programmes for the evening, it is learnt.

The 49th Kachin Resistance Day is being held on a grand scale in areas controlled by KIA’s 1st Brigade in Sumpra Bum Township, Kachin State from February 3 to 6. It is learnt that the junta’s representatives were not invited to the ceremony held today.

KIO reached a ceasefire agreement with the junta in February 1994. It is the only outfit in Kachin State which is still rejecting the regime’s BGF proposal.

There are three ethnic armed Kachin ceasefire groups in Kachin State. Of which, the New Democratic Army – Kachin (NDA-K) led by U Zahkung Ting Ying agreed to transform its troops to BGF. Another, KIO breakaway faction led by U Lasang Awng Wa, based in La Wah Yan village, Wai Maw Township, has converted its troops into a people’s militia toeing the junta’s line.

Each BGF battalion will have 326 personnel of which 30 will be from the Burmese Army and will be under its control. The salaries will be disbursed to all  the personnel by the central government.

(Edited by Ye Yint Aung)

Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 February 2010 11:10 )  

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