By MIN LWIN
The central executive committee of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) held a two-day meeting on May 11-12 to discuss the Burmese regime’s calls for the ceasefire group to transform its armed wing into a border security force (BSF).
According to sources, plans were made at the meeting to hold consultations with members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and others to discuss the proposed move to turn the armed group into a BSF.
“In the meeting, they made two groups to explain the recent situation for the Kachin people—one group for armed personnel and local residents and one for community leaders in Kachin State,” said a source who is close to the KIO.
The Kachin News Group quoted Dr Manam Tu Ja, a vice-president of the KIO, as saying, “On the matter of transforming the KIA, both sides have to have a series of negotiations on political, economic and other organizational rights.”
The KIO will hold a meeting with Kachin community leaders on May 17-18 to explain the political and economic situation.
On April 28, a delegation led by KIO Vice-Chairman Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng went to the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina to meet with Brig-Gen Soe Win, the junta’s Northern Regional Commander, to learn more about the details of the regime’s plan.
Under the junta’s scheme, the Burmese military will be given more control over the armed ceasefire groups. Each border guard battalion will consist of 326 troops, including 30 from the Burmese army, of who three will be Burmese officers with administrative positions.
The plan also stipulates that BSFs will only be mobilized within the territory currently held by the armed ceasefire groups.
Although the KIO has not yet formally responded to the junta’s proposed plan, senior members of the KIA are expected to resist the idea.
“We make a pledge every morning that we will not give up our weapons,” said a KIA major who asked not to be named.
In a statement released on May 12, five Kachin exile organizations—the All Kachin Students and Youth Union, Kachin Today Group, Kachin National Organization, Kachin State National Congress for Democracy, and Progressive Kachin Christian Solidarity—also rejected the Burmese junta’s plan.
Meanwhile, a belated quarterly meeting held by the junta at its remote capital of Naypyidaw last week has resulted in a major reshuffle linked to efforts to push ceasefire groups to form themselves into BSFs ahead of next year’s elections.
According to a Rangoon resident who is close to the military, three commanders of the regime’s six Bureaus of Special Operations (BSO) have been reassigned.
The source said that Maj-Gen Ohn Myint was moved from the BSO (1) to BSO (6), Lt-Gen Thar Aye was moved from the BSO (4) to BSO (1) and Lt-Gen Khin Zaw was moved from the BSO (6) to BSO (4).