UNFC condemns ongoing military offensives
IN an effort to ease military tension in Kachin and northern Shan states, the United Nationalities Federal Council has called on the Tatmadaw to halt offensives in ethnic areas in a statement released by the group.
The UNFC, an ethnic bloc made up of seven armed groups including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) which is currently at odds with the Tatmadaw, seemed to blame the National League for Democracy-led government for its inability to start political dialogue.
Although it did not directly name the NLD-led government, it referred to “those in power and governments, in successive eras”.
The UNFC said the Tatmadaw was responsible for “aggression against the lands of the ethnic nationalities”.
If the Tatmadaw does not stop fighting with the armed ethnic groups, the UNFC’s statement said, “peace will still be far and away”.
The KIA also released a statement over the weekend blaming the Tatmadaw for the ongoing fighting in the Kachin and northern Shan states. The KIA’s statement said that the military’s offensive began on August 16 and is still ongoing, with the Tatmadaw using aircraft against KIA fighters. They claim the first sudden strike came against a battalion in Laiphaung and then the next day in Inkram.
Last week, the KIA’s Lieutenant Colonel Naw Bu said the Tatmadaw’s aircrafts attacked a KIA post in Gidon. He did not provide figures on injuries and casualties. However, since the very beginning of the fighting, he said, “At least 10 were wounded or killed.”
“The Tatmadaw will have to take responsibility for the negative consequences that arise as a result of the current military offensives,” the statement said.
Despite military tensions, KIA and members of the UNFC attended the 21st-century Panglong Conference at the end of August. However, the UNFC declined to attend a meeting to review the framework of political dialogues.
Last week, tens of thousands protested in streets of Myitkyina calling for the end of military offensives. Organisers of the event are facing charges for allegedly not complying with the agreements set with the police, said Daw Nang Pu, a peace and women’s rights activist.
“The police said that what protesters shouted out during the march was not presented to the police when the organisers asked for permission,” she said.
‘The Tatmadaw will have to take responsibility for the negative consequences that arise as a result of the current military offensives.’
Statement by the KIA