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KIO urges traders to leave Laiza base as war looms

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The main Kachin quasi-government organisation has urged businessmen in its northern Burma stronghold of Laiza to leave the town over fears of potential military conflict between the ethnic armed group and junta forces.

Laiza-MarketThe Kachin Independence Organisation had since Monday warned traders in the town near the Sino-Burmese border that fighting was likely to break out, a spokesman said.

“We urged the traders to leave town for their own sake. If we do not warn them and fighting breaks out, they will be caught up in the troubles … we want them to move to other towns”, KIO Colonel Naw Ang said.

“This doesn’t mean we’re evicting them. We’ve just urged them to leave town as we’re concerned about their safety,” he told Mizzima.

The junta-run Burmese Army had since Sunday started to reinforce its battalions in Kachin State. Kachin military sources said that an artillery unit had encamped in Bhamo District in the south of the state. 

The KIO believed that the junta had also sent for reinforcements from armoured divisions 7004 in Myitkyina, the state’s capital, 7005 in Mohnyin and 7006 in Bhamo, which fall under Artillery Operations Command 904 based in Mohnyin. 

KIO had also recently been ordered to close its liaison offices, set up throughout the state as lines of communication between the junta and the Kachin grouping.

At the same time, the junta had applied further pressure on the KIO by blocking trade from China through Laiza, a vital source of revenue for the group. Chinese citizens are also among the traders in the stronghold town.

A shop owner told Mizzima: “I come from Bhamo and run a shop in Laiza. Now I have to return to Bhamo … I don’t know what to do.”

The KIO has rejected the junta’s design for it to bring its armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), under Burmese Army command within a Border Guard Force (BGF). Further signs of tension over the BGF plan’s rejection were evidenced in that the junta’s Union Election Commission blacklisted the holding of the national elections on November 7 in some KIO-controlled areas of the state.

Since in the middle of last month, the junta had bolstered with 1,000 troops Military Operations Commands 3 in Mohnyin, near the Kasone region in areas controlled by KIA battalion 11 under brigade 2.

Last Updated ( Friday, 03 December 2010 02:42 )  

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