Tat­madaw warns KIA

The Tat­madaw has told the Kachin In­de­pen­dence Army (KIA) to re­move its mil­i­tary bases from Tanai town­ship or face the con­se­quences.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - NEWS 3

THE Tat­madaw de­manded the re­moval of mil­i­tary bases of Kachin In­de­pen­dence Army’s Bat­tal­ion 14 from Tanai town­ship dur­ing a meet­ing in China last week.

The Tat­madaw and Kachin In­de­pen­dence Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the po­lit­i­cal wing of KIA, met in Yu­nan prov­ince’s Tarli town on Fe­bru­ary 1 through the me­di­a­tion of the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry in a bid to re­duce mil­i­tary ten­sion in Kachin State.

But the meet­ing ended with­out sub­stan­tive agree­ment, al­though both sides agreed to hold fur­ther talks.

The meet­ing comes amid fresh Tat­madaw at­tacks against KIA troops in Tanai town­ship, where the armed eth­nic or­gan­i­sa­tion con­trols am­ber mines. Due to the fight­ing that erupted last month, thou­sands are re­ported to have fled the area.

The Tat­madaw rep­re­sen­ta­tives said they do not recog­nise some KIA mil­i­tary bases, in­clud­ing Bat­tal­ion 14, which op­er­ates near Tanai town­ship, and some bri­gades, ac­cord­ing to a KIO state­ment Thurs­day.

Bat­tal­ion 14 is the mil­i­tary branch of KIA that con­trols the se­cu­rity of am­ber mines in Tanai, which is re­ported to be a ma­jor source of in­come for the armed eth­nic group.

In June last year, ten­sion in­creased in Tanai af­ter mil­i­tary he­li­copters spread warn­ing let­ters telling peo­ple to evac­u­ate the min­ing ar­eas be­fore a “clear­ance op­er­a­tion”.

Al­though de­tails of the dis­cus­sion were not re­leased, leaked doc­u­ments of meet­ing records said the Tat­madaw de­manded the re­moval of bases it does not recog­nise or it would re­move them by force.

The Myan­mar Times tried to reach the KIO spokesper­son to ask for com­ment, but did not suc­ceed.

Ac­cord­ing to the KIO state­ment, Lt-gen Tun Tun Naung, chief of the Bu­reau of Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions 1, led the army del­e­ga­tion while the KIO del­e­ga­tion was led by Gen N’ban La.

“The KIO dis­cussed the prospect of end­ing the fight­ing, for the re­gion’s sta­bil­ity, achiev­ing peace and build­ing a fed­eral union with Pan­g­long prom­ises”, said the state­ment.

The meet­ing, the first to be held since the mil­i­tary train­ing academy of the KIA was bombed by the Tat­madaw in Novem­ber 2014, killing nearly two dozen trainees. Since then, com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels be­tween the KIA and Tat­madaw have been cut.

Re­garded as an in­flu­en­tial group with its for­mer al­lies the United Na­tion­al­i­ties Fed­eral Coun­cil, the KIO played a ma­jor role in peace ne­go­ti­a­tions that started un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent U Thein Sein.

‘The KIO dis­cussed the prospect of end­ing the fight­ing, for the re­gion’s sta­bil­ity...’ KIO state­ment

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