Friday, November 28, 2014

UWSA, SSPP and NDAA Say Burma Army attack has damaged peace prospects

KIA officer training school, Laiza, Kachin state of northern Burma

Three ethnic groups issued a statement voicing their concern that the ongoing peace process would deteriorate because of the Burma Army’s artillery shelling of a Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) officer training school on19th November.

The statement condemning the attack, which killed 23 cadets and injured 20 more, was issued by Burma’s largest ethnic armed group the United Wa State Party (UWSP), the Shan State Progressive Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) Mongla armed group.

The three groups, who are not members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) Burma’s biggest alliance of ethnic groups, condemned the attack as an ugly attack at this stage of the peace process in a joint statement on 23rd November. They also suggested that both groups negotiate and make agreement for a nationwide ceasefire agreement.

UWSA spokesperson Aung Myint said the shelling was dishonest and broke the rules and regulations and risked fostering distrust and damaging the peace process. He said: “They [the Burmese government] cannot continue this way and should stop their offensive attacks and try to reach resolution through negotiation.

The groups also encouraged the ethnic armed groups to cooperate more with each other and make a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible.

Later, on 19th November, the Burmese government told the media that the artillery attack was a warning shot that had accidentally landed on the KIOs officer training school causing heavy casualties.

The KIO have rejected this claim.

Two days later, on 22nd and 23rd November, the Burma army again fired artillery at KIO positions. The shells landed near IDP camps and villages, but there were no causalities.

 The 23 cadets who died in the 29th November incident were members of forces that are KIO allies. Of the victims 11 came from the Ta’ang Liberation Army (TNLA), eight were from the Arakan Army (AA) and two each were from the Chin National Front (CNF) and the All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF). The other 20 injured people included KIO trainers according to a list released by the Free Burma Rangers.

Almost all the ethnic organizations’ have said they are deeply concerned by the attacks and say the action was damaging to their hopes for peace.


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