Two Burmese government soldiers surrendered to forces loyal to the Kachin Independence Organization on June 16, according to an official from the group's armed wing.
Two soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 105 based at Nahpaw military camp gave themselves up to soldiers from the Nam San Yang village based People’s Militia, a civil defense unit affiliated with the KIO.
“They ran away from their army camp while they were collecting vegetables and carrying water in the forest,” according to an officer from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
Kachin resistance forces have treated the two defectors well and are helping them figure out what they want to do, a KIA official told the Kachin News Group.
“We haven't detained them, they are free to go back home or if they want to work in China,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
More than 30 Burmese government soldiers have surrendered to KIA forces since Kachin conflict began in June of last year. Many of those who chose to defect were forcibly recruited into the Burmese army.
The surrendered soldiers only want to reunite with their family however most don't wish to go back and rejoin the Burmese Army and instead want to live under the protection of the KIA, the group's senior spokesman Lah Nan has publicly stated.
Reports suggest that the Burmese army continues to torture and mistreat captured KIA members and those whom the army suspects are KIA sympathizers.
Last week Burmese troops beat and tortured a captured KIA sergeant in front of residents of a village in Northern Shan State, according to KIA officials who were able to get eyewitness accounts from the area.
“We follow international law regarding the treatment of prisoners of war which they (the army) do not respect or follow. Instead they call us a rebel group,” complained the KIA official.
Several rounds of meetings have been held between government representatives and senior KIO officials however these talks have failed to produce an agreement so far.