Burma’s state-run media blames Kachin rebels for conflictBy Zin Linn Jun 18, 2011 11:39PM UTC
Burma or Myanmar’s government has blamed ethnic the Kachin revolutionary group for opening a week of fighting along the country’s northeastern border with China.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar reported Saturday that the army assailed the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) only to protect a major Chinese-built hydroelectric power project that had come under intimidation.
According to New Light of Myanmar, KIA has been hampering projects in Kachin State, posing threats and disturbance to Chinese staff who are working at hydropower projects.
It also said that on May 5, the KIA entered Lahsa Hydropower Project on the east bank of the Malikha River and threatened Chinese staff to move to the west bank of the river within two days and to withdraw the extended camps from the east bank as quickly as possible.
The paper added that on June 8, a KIA group examined a member of Tatmadaw (Burma Army) security unit at Tarpein Hydropower Project in Kachin State and seized a rucksack with rounds of ammunition. In that regard, two Burma Army officers went to KIA camp to settle the issue. But they were detained by KIA without any reason.
Although the government troops told the KIA to withdraw from its temporary camp near Tarpein Hydropower Project not later than June 11, the KIA did not follow. The Burma Army column inevitably attacked and occupied the temporary camp on June 12.
New Light of Myanmar also underscores Tarpein Hydropower Project is the joint venture project of the Ministry of Electric Power No. 1 and Datang (Yunnan) United Hydropower Developing (DUHD) Company of China. The project is vital since the two sides have invested heavily in the project.
The KIA did not take note of the government warning, instead it launched heavy weapons fire at the project from its Dunbon Outpost, the newspaper said.
Burma Army columns had to inevitably attack the KIA just to rescue its officers detained by the KIA. In response to the attack of the Burma Army, KIA blew up nine bailey bridges, 10 RC type bridges, four concrete bridges, two wooden bridges, altogether 25 bridges, which are of importance in transportation of Kachin State, from 14 to 16 June.
Using misinformation terms, New Light of Myanmar also wrote that the government has publicly opened the door of peace to welcome those who are holding different views if they wish to cooperate with the government in mutually concerned cases for the interests of the nation and the people. KIA nowadays needs to realize the actual attitude of the State.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar also wrote brazenly that the only objective of the Burma Army in launching attacks on KIA is just to protect its members and an important hydropower project of the nation without even a single intention of aggression or oppression, the newspaper said.
But, the real dealings are totally different from what New Light of Myanmar has said. According to the firsthand frontline reports, the hostilities against KIA were started by the Burmese government and the KIO has to use their own right to defend their native land. In the view of Kachin people, their land has been forcefully occupied by the Burmese government.
The Burmese government has exploited natural resources in Kachin State by using its armed forces. The Tarpein Hydelpower Project is being constructed by China to facilitate its power needs. In return, China protects the Burmese government, which has very bad human rights records, by using its veto power in the UN Security Council.
However the KIA is opposed to the project, saying the dam will be environmentally and socially destructive.
In fact, armed conflicts between the Burma armed forces and KIA has widened since the ethnic armed group refused to accept the junta’s new constitution which says Burma Army is the only military institution in the country.
Several ethnic armed groups including the KIA have already decided to defend their basic rights by holding their guns. If the new President Thein Sein government fails to solve this delicate political question by means of political dialogue, civil war may not be avoided.