Govt says it has ‘no time’ for joint KIO probe

Govt says it has ‘no time’ for joint KIO probe

A proposed plan for a combined taskforce of Kachin rebel and Burmese military representatives to make fieldtrips to investigate the root of recent fighting in Kachin State’s Hpakant and Tanai regions has been abandoned, as the government say they have no time.

It was agreed at a 27 April meeting between Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) delegates and state officials – who together form the Conflict Negotiation Commission – that the recent outbreak of hostilities between the KIO’s armed wing and Burmese army troops should be probed. However, the trip scheduled for 4 May was cancelled after government officials said they had no time, according to Lamai Gum Ja, a Kachin Peace Negotiator.

“Representatives of the commission had agreed to conduct field investigations, but on Monday the Burmese army told us that they were not ready for the trips and had no free time, so the plan was cancelled,” Lamai Gum Ja told DVB.

He said that the KIO representatives had already departed for the trip from their headquarters in Laiza.

The Conflict Negotiation Commission, made up of five representatives each from the government and the KIO with a mandate to reduce fighting, was supposed to have monthly meetings starting in October last year. However, the meetings were suspended following the Burmese army’s shelling of a Kachin training camp in November in which 23 cadets were killed.

In light of the renewed fighting in Tanai and Hpakant townships, the commission convened again last month, and agreed to resume meetings once every two months.

Reporting by Naw Noreen

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