Three KIO soldiers arrested

Oct 23, 2008 (DVB), Government soldiers arrested three Kachin Independence Organisation soldiers in charge of the Namtee sugar factory on 15 October, according to a merchant on the China-Burma border.

The merchant said the three soldiers, who were in charge of security at the sugar factory, were arrested by soldiers from the Military Affairs Security unit in Myitkyina.

"The three soldiers were in civilian clothing and unarmed; they are factory staff," the merchant said.

"They were arrested for recruiting soldiers for the KIO’s military wing, the Kachin Independence Army."

KIO spokesperson Dr La Ja said he could not comment on the matter until a board meeting had been held.

On 14 October, village authority chair Narlon U Brang Awng was beaten up by Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 105 at the Laja Yang checkpoint at the KIO's Laiza headquarters.

He was also accused of recruiting soldiers for the KIA.

Previously, tensions arose between the two sides after Burmese soldiers arrested and killed some KIA soldiers.

Although the KIO has remained tight-lipped about the incidents to this day, military security chief lieutenant-general Ye Myint came to Myitkyina and met with top KIO leaders, according to a source close to the KIO.

Although it is not known what they discussed, they held some sporting events to promote friendship.

Ye Myint is also reportedly meeting with leaders of ceasefire groups such as the United Wa State Army, the Kokang and the Shan State Army (North) in Lashio.

Namtee sugar factory was previously state owned but the KIO-owned Bugah company took over the factory in early 1997 after the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the military.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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