Published on Thursday, 03 January 2013 17:39
KIA's soldiers preparing for battle at their camp in La Jaryam area Kachin State on Dec 30(Photo- EMG)
Myanmar civil society calls for a halt to the armed conflicts between government troops and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) that re-commenced in July 2011.
“Locals are suffering from the civil conflict. Ceasefire should be made in 2013 based on forgiveness and understandings. The military should not worry that KIA will seize the power of Kachin State government if the government withdraws troops,” said Daw Dwebu, secretary of Internal Peace-making Committee and Lower House parliamentarian from Injangyan constituency of Kachin State.
“KIA is also suggested to ease their concerns about government military intruding into their area. President should call a peace-making meeting,” Daw Dwebu added.
Fighting between the government military and KIA occurred 2,400 times from June 2011 to December 2012, and despite union-level peace talks last year, the armed clashes did not stop.
“Civil wars in any area of the country will have impacts on people nationwide. The armed groups concerned should prioritise national interests and welfares of the public and stop the flames of war,” said Member of Parliament (MP) Thein Nyint.
“Livelihoods of local residents were torn down because of the skirmishes…Pregnant women, the elderly, patients and children become the victims of conflicts. They need humanitarian assistance. The fighting should be stopped immediately,” said Sid Naing, director of Marie Stopes International, the London-headquartered international NGO.
Clashes in northern Myanmar have escalated since 2012, resulting in a rising number of civilian deaths and a large-scale of internal displacement.
The number of internal displaced persons has increased to 160,000 by December amid the escalating clashes.
Civil war refugees flocked back to Myanmar at the end of August 2012 as China refused to accept them.
"It is the best thing to do [to stop the war], which causes real suffering for people only. This is why I demand both sides to stop the war," said artist Min Wai Aung.
"The reason why I contested the by-election was for the cause of Kachin peace… the differences between national races should be resolved in a political way," said 68-year-old MP Ohn Kyaing from the National League for Democracy.
"The central government seeks peace, but the army has launched offensive. Therefore, the ethnic armed groups will stick to holding their arms," said Khun Tun Oo, chairman of Shan National Democratic Party.
He added the parliament should intervene in the issue as the army is continuing its offensive against the KIA despite the government's order to stop the war.
President Thein Sein ordered the Chief of Defence(Army) on December 10, 2011 to halt the offensives in Kachin State, but the clashes continue.
The 88 Generation Students Group also issued a six-point statement. It stated that all causalities, including those of Kachin troops, are the losses of the whole union. The escalating conflict could harm mutual trust between the government and national race organisations, and hinder peace talks, the statement says.
In the statement, the group also pledged ceasefire and peace-making efforts and urged both sides to stop the conflict immediately.
Scenes from KIA's La Jaryam Camp on December 30
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