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KIO condemns ‘chemical’ attacks


The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) on Monday condemned the violent crackdown by riot police on peaceful protesters, including hundreds of monks, at the Latpadaung Mountain copper mine site in Sagaing Division, and said that it is deeply saddened by the incident.

A fire burns in a protest camp after riot police had moved in to disperse a group of protesters at the Monywa copper mine site in Sagaing Division early on the morning of November 29. (PHOTO: AFP)
A fire burns in a protest camp after riot police had moved in to disperse a group of protesters at the Monywa copper mine site in Sagaing Division early on the morning of November 29. (PHOTO: AFP) 
“The KIO cannot accept that the police violently attacked the protesters as if they were an enemy with weapons,” said KIO spokesman La Nang. “We sympathize with the victims. This is unforgivable. Using chemical weapons to crack down on unarmed peaceful protesters was a dishonorable act by a government that says it is carrying out reforms.”

However, this government is just the latest in a series of administrations including Ne Win’s military junta that have fired on demonstrators, he said.

He added that Burmese government forces also use chemical weapons in their conflict with the KIO in Kachin State.

“The Burmese army uses chemical weapons in our Kachin area,” he told Mizzima. “Up to the present day, we have soldiers who were poisoned by chemical weapons fired by government forces.

“That’s why we can empathize with the Buddhist monks and laypeople who were attacked with chemical weapons. We want to say that we are deeply saddened,” said the KIO spokesman.

La Nang said there were some 30 Kachin soldiers injured by chemical weapons at the front line.

“Some of them can walk but others have not recovered,” he said.

The KIO spokesman said that President Thein Sein must bear responsibility for the incident at the Latpadaung copper mine site.

Meanwhile, fighting continues in Kachin State. During dry season, the Burmese army commonly launches ground offensives against ethnic armies.

The KIO say fighting occurred in the Pangwa area on December 1 – 2 when the Burmese army’s battalions 74 and 77 attacked bases of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the KIO’s military wing.

Similarly, there were clashes in Sadon and Waingmaw, both KIO-controlled areas, over the past three days, said La Nang.

On Sunday, La Nang said, two more battalions from the 99th Light Infantry Division traveled from Lashio in northern Shan State to Mansi Township in Kachin State where they launched an attack on the KIA’s Brigade 3.

And again at Hpakant, a jade-rich township, two battalions of the government’s 99th Light Infantry Division launched an offensive against the KIA on Monday, he said.



For more background:

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/8471-80-injured-in-monywa-crackdown.html

http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/8334-govt-kio-agree-to-political-dialogue.html
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2012 12:21 )  

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