Thursday, 21 November 2019

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KIO holds militia courses ahead of army deadline

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Kachin Independence Organisation troops are providing military training to people from the ethnic minority after the group refused to join the Burma Army’s Border Guard Force, local residents and group officers said.

This compulsory training will start today and will last 18 days. It will be attended by former Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers from the KIO Third Brigade based in Mai Jayan and nearby villages, along with the persons who had already attended similar military trainings in the past.

A Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) officer said the training includes courses on self-defence, basic military tactics and small arms. “We train them how to shoot a gun, how to take cover and how to avoid being shot”, he said. 

A local resident from Mai Jayan said more than 100 people were attending the courses and trainees’ were aged in their 40s to more than 50. “The training started today at the school in Mai Jayan”, he said.

Training will also be held at Inn Bapa village, where the KIA First  Battalion under the command of the Third Brigade is based, 32 kilometres east of Mai Jayan. A witness said one person from each household was being collected as a trainee. 

Similar short-term courses military training have been conducted in villages in Sadone Village tract, Wai Maw Township, east of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State.

KIO departmental staff had attended such training in Laiza in August last year. 

Junta Military Affairs Security Chief Lieutenant General Ye Myint gave tomorrow as the deadline for the KIO to reply on whether it would bring its troops into line with the Border Guard Force. 

According to a KIO Central Committee member, its nine-member delegation led by chairman Zau Hara will leave Laiza this evening to meet the junta’s Northern Command chief Soe Win on Thursday in Myitkyina. 

The KIO’s vice-chief of staff, Major General Guan Mau, and General Secretary Dr. Laja held a debriefing on April 16 this month at Manau ground in Laiza, with 2,500 participants comprising Kachin people and staff of grass-roots groups. The group’s leaders explained its stance on the ceasefire period and the border force issue.

They said the group would reject the junta’s offer to join the force and that the group would like to join the Federal Army as Kachin Battalions, another KIO central committee member, who asked not to be named, said.

In a meeting held on April 4 at Northern Command headquarters in Myitkyina, the KIO had presented that position, but Lieutenant General Ye Myint refused the offer. 

A day after the debriefing session, a series of bombs exploded at Myitsone hydropower dam project site. KIO has denied involvement.


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