KIO And Govt Prepare For Pandemic

The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the Kachin National Consultative Assembly met with the state government for the first time to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.

KIO officials that attended the meeting last Wednesday in Maisak Pa near Laiza told KNG they avoided talking about politics and focused on discussions about preventing the coronavirus, which included restricting movement along the areas of the Kachin-Chinese border the armed organization controls.

Col Nhpan Naw Bu, in charge of the KIO’s information department, said the Kachin State government donated 5.7 million kyat (est. US$4,069) to help the 78 people quarantined in Mai Sak Pa village and some personal protective equipment.

Nhpang Naw Bu said the KIO didn’t ask for any financial assistance. “I think the government wants to make a good image,” he said, explaining they asked how many people are staying in their quarantine facility.

Zaw Zaw, the Kachin State social affairs minister, said the KIO requested help from the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC), and the government delivered the assistance following the NRPC guidelines.

In early May, former youth director of Kachin Baptist Convention, Nhkum Tang Gun, from the COVID-19 Concern and Response Committee – Kachin (CCRC-K), which is a member of Kachin National Consultative Assembly, sought permission from the government to meet with the KIO’s COVID-19 prevention committee and was invited to join the May 13 meeting.

Col Naw Bu said they plan to cooperate with the CCRC-K “separately”. “In some cases, we’ll work with CCRC-K and with other issues we’ll work with the Kachin State government.”

In a statement the KIO released after the meeting, it requested a statement from the government about how it will achieve peace to fulfill the president’s “No One Left Behind” policy for its COVID-19 prevention campaign.

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