The Kachin Independence Organisation are accusing the Burmese army of participating in ethnic cleansing and have asked the United Nations to intervene in the conflict, as the international body prepares to deliver aid to refugees in the northern most state.
“The Burmese army is now engaged in ethnic cleansing and the conflict has now turned from one of political to racial in nature,” wrote KIO Chairman Zwang Hra in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 15 May.
“The time is now crucial for the UN to intervene before the conflict becomes even wider and more complex.”
Although President Thein Sein allegedly ordered troops to stop their assault against the Kachin Independence Army last December, fighting persists between the rebels and the Burmese army.
“The president has instructed the government troops to stop any offensive against the Kachin Independence Army, but in some cases the order might not reach down all the way to the local area,” said Railway Minister Aung Min during a press conference in Shan state on 19 May.
“As far as the Tatmadaw is concerned, they’re not taking the offensive, they’re reacting to what they’ve been subjected to – meaning they’re undertaking defensive action.”
The UN is set to deliver aid to the refugees living in the KIO and Kachin Independence Army’s stronghold Laiza during the first week of June. Both NGOs and the UN have had been unable to provide the necessary aid to the estimated 75,000 people who have been displaced by the conflict as few relief convoys are allowed into the conflict zone.
A 17-year ceasefire ended last June when fighting erupted in the Kachin state, after the government demanded that the KIA join a state-run Border Guard Force. According to KIO spokesperson, James Lun Dau, there have been 1,400 clashes between the KIA and the Burmese army since last June.
Ordnance explodes in Kachin capital
A bomb exploded yesterday morning in Kachin state’s capital Myitkyina, according to the city’s Police Station-2.
There were no reported injuries.
An official on duty at Myitkyina Police Station-2 said the bomb exploded around 6am yesterday morning on a traffic median on Union Road and another unexploded ordnance was found lying underneath a tree about 10 feet away.
“We have been on high [alert] since lately and are having training [sessions] with bomb detectors.”
A similar incident occurred on 5 May when a bomb exploded in Ayemyatharyar Ward and was followed by another explosion that injured two officers who were investigating the scene. In April, three people were injured after two bombs exploded in the Kachin capital.
The Burmese state media often blames the KIA for the bombings, while the group continues to deny any involvement.
-Nang Mya Nadi and Aye Nai contributed reporting.