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Shwe Mann visits Kachin State

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Gen. Thura Shwe Mann, Joint Chief of Staff of Operations of the Burmese junta visited Kachin State last week for two days even as tension continues to mount between the regime and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) over transforming its armed wing into the Border Guard Force.

The General, who ranks number 3 in the junta’s hierarchy, visited Northern Command in Myitkyina, Kachin State on March 24. He also visited Hopin, Tanai and Puta-O and returned to Nay Pyi Taw the next day.Thura-Shwe-Mann

“The main purpose of the visit seems related to military affairs. It may be because of the current situation in Kachin and Wa controlled areas along the border,” Civil-Military Relation analyst Win Min said.

Gen. Thura Shwe Mann was accompanied by 10 other high-ranking military officers including Bureau of Special Operation (BSO) commanders Lt. Gen. Thar Aye and Maj. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Win Min said.

Lt. Gen. Thar Aye handles military operations in Kachin State, Sagaing Division and Mandalay Division and Maj. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing handles operations in Shan State and Kayah State.

“They came from Bamao. He told people to put pressure on the KIO to transform its armed wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) into the BGF,” a KIO official said.

But he did not meet any KIO leaders during the visit.

The Northern Command Commander Maj. Gen. Soe Win met KIO Chairman Zau Hara, Secretary Dr. Laja and Col. Gwan Mau at the Northern Command Headquarters on March 21.

He made inquiries with the KIO on the seizure of 33 bombs from two villagers in Kum Ban village, Bamao town by the Drug Enforcement Special Police Force on March 13.

The KIO responded saying though the bombs belonged to KIO, the villagers possessing the bombs had nothing to do with it, a KIO official said.

The KIO also responded to the junta representative Military Affairs Security (MAS) Chief Lt. Gen. Ye Myint on the BGF issue saying that they could not accept converting their army into BGF, which will be under the direct control of the Burmese Army and would like to stay as a Kachin Army under the newly elected government.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 May 2010 15:35 )  

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