The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) held a New Year's prayer service at the group's Laiza headquarters on January 3rd. The usual Christmas and New Year events planned for the KIO area were delayed due to security concerns stemming from the recent increase in tensions with the army.
The Chief of the Laiza township administration district Col. Lawaw Naw San told the Kachinnews that the event which involved traditional dancing, singing and prayer went well. More than 1,500 people attended the event, including KIO members, local residents and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Last month the KIO alerted everyone living in the group's territory of the risk of a possible attack from the Burma army during Christmas. Because of the these security concerns the usual large scale events planned for Christmas day were suspended across all the IDP camps located in KIO territory.
During the January 3rd event the KIO's chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra delivered a speech in which he noted that real peace and a lasting ceasefire will only be possible through genuine political dialogue. The KIO chairman also criticized the Burma government's blocking international aid supplies to IDPs camps located in KIO territory. The government has blocked UN agencies from delivering food and other humanitarian aid to the KIO area for nearly three months. Lanyaw Zawng Hra called on people to inform the international community about the ongoing aid blockade affecting the IDP camps.
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