KIO Chairman Pessimistic on Chances for Peace

On the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), their Chairman, General Lanyaw Zawng Hra, warned in a speech that the Burma Army’s ongoing offensive against all eight of the KIO’s brigades, was making peace more difficult.

He said that while the Burmese government says it is trying to continue to maintain a dialogue with armed groups, the Burma Army has been increasing its military offensives.

He argued that the new Burmese government has not been able to stop the military offensives launched by the Burma Army. Instead the government has blamed the non-signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), like the KIO and claimed that they do not desire peace even though the National League for Democracy (NLD) has called for ‘building a genuine federal union together’ during the election campaign.

The KIO chairman alleged in his speech that the Burma Army has been trying to control the KIO headquarters through military means in order to make the group sign the NCA and defeat the armed groups through the “DDR” (disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration).

The KIO’s official stance is that ‘political issues should be solved through political means’. 24 KIO representatives attended the Union Peace Conference (also called the 21st Century Panglong Conference) led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this year.

While the KIO was negotiating to attend the 21st Century Panglong Conference, the Burma Army attacked the KIO headquarters with a large number of forces on 16 August and seized an outpost from the KIA Mobile Battalion 252 on 17 August.

The KIO was established in northern Shan State by a group of Kachin students from the University of Rangoon on 25 October 1960.

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