Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA)

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Kachin Independence Organisation/ Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA)

kio


SUMMARY

Founded: 5 February 1961

Headquarters: Laiza, Kachin State

Active Territories: Kachin State and Northern Shan State.

Strength: More than 12,000 (8 brigades)

Chairman – General N’Ban La

Vice-chairman – Gam Shawng

General Secretary – Kumhtat Hting Nan

The Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/ KIA), which signed a ceasefire agreement with the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) on 24 February 1994, has been continuously engaged in armed clashes with the military from 9 June 2011 under President Thein Sein’s administration up until now. While adhering to the policy of inclusion of all Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), the KIO rejected President Thein Sein’s overture to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).

The KIO withdrew its membership from the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) at the second UNFC congress which took place from 20-23 June 2017. It joined the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) formed on 19 April 2017 and led by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which consists of seven ethnic armed groups from northern Myanmar, seeking peace and political dialogue. On 31 August 2019, representatives of the four members of the Northern Alliance led by the KIO and representatives of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) met in Kengtung, Shan State, discussed ways to quickly end fighting and reach a bilateral ceasefire agreement. The two sides agreed to continue negotiations for the NCA, only after signing a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

During the military coup, KIO leader N’Ban La has stated he stands for the righteous cause and urged others to do the same. On 22 April 2022, in response to the military leader’s invitation for peace talks, and the military council’s letter on 2 May 2022 requesting a meeting, the KIO declined, stating “We will only participate when the time comes that all stakeholders can participate and discuss the affairs of the nation on an equal footing.” 73

The KIO is also cooperating with the National Unity Government (NUG)’s treasury bond sales during the Spring Revolution. Additionally, in the education sector, it has jointly established Kachin State Comprehensive University (KSCU) with the NUG.74 As the KIO is fully cooperating with the Central Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and the NUG, according to the Kachin Independence Council (KIC) Vice Chairman Lieutenant General Gun Maw. It is also participating in the Central Command and Coordination Committee (C3C) coalition on the military front in order to end the military dictatorship.75

On 23 October 2022 at 8:30 pm, the military council attacked with fighter jets when civilians were jointly celebrating the 62nd anniversary of the KIO in the ANang Pa area, killing and injuring many civilians and KIO members. In response to the airstrike, the KIO Central Committee issued a statement that they would escalate the resistance against the military council. 76

On the 48th Kachin Martyrs Day on 10 August 2023, KIO Chairman General N’Ban La said that the current Spring Revolution is between the military council and the people, and KIO staff are clearly standing with the people, while warning other EROs and individuals looking out for their own interests to avoid helping the regime to find a way out.

Clashes with Myanmar army troops 13 clashes in 2019, seven clashes in 2020, 138 clashes in 2021, 90 clashes in 2022, and 38 clashes in 2023 (as of March). Most notably, the KIO collaborated with local PDFs to attack the military council troops in 2022 and 2023.
Clashes with EROs One clash with the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA) in 2022.

 

Ceasefire and Peace Process
– Peace Negotiations and Meetings
– Former Ceasefire – February 24, 1994
– Union level Bilateral agreement (for Conflict reduction) – October, 10, 2013
– Conflict Resolution Team (CRT) formed after the 2013 agreement.

Clashes with Tatmadaw
2019 – 13 clashes
2020 – 7 clashes
2021 – 138 clashes
2022 (March) – 17 clashes

CRT team members
five members from Government’s
representative and –
1. Brigadier General Zau Htaung (Leader)
2. Lieutenant Colonel Naw Li
3. U Dau Kha
4. U La Rip
5. Min Zai Dau Liam


Liaison offices
Technical Advisory Office (Myitkyina)

Alliances
2009 to 2015 –
UNFC, NCCT, SD, DPN and
2017 to current –
FPNCC, Northern Alliance – Burma

Contact
Website: http://kachinnet.net
Email: [email protected]


Official delegation team

Rotational


KIO Justice and Negotiation center

Located: Prang Ngawn village, Loijay Township, Kachin State, Myanmar


KIO’s Technical Advisory Team

Located: No. NR/114, Shatapru ward, Myitkyina Township, Kachin State on July 2013

KIO member:

  1. Gawlu La Awng (deputy director of the foreign Relations department)
  2. Col. Phongan KhunNawng
  3. Col. Sin Wah
  4. Sara Dau Hka

Civilian:

  1. Saranum Lu Nan
  2. Sara Brang Mai
  3. Min Zai Dau Lum
  4. Sara La Yeik

Peace Creation Group

Website: http://peace-talkcreationgroup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeaceTalkCreation-Group
Email: [email protected]

The Peace-talk Creation Group is made up of Kachin businessmen. They have
been instrumental in assisting peace talks between the KIO and government by mediating between the two sides to schedule and make necessary arrangements. They occasionally
provide financial assistance for meetings.

Membership includes:
Yup ZawHkaung of Jade land company Lamai Gum Ja Hkapra KhunAwng Nshan San Awng. The group also has a 7-member official documentation team.


Meetings

 #  Date  Location  KIO Rep  Govt Rep  Details
1 17/06/11 Laiza, Kachin KIO Central Committee 4 leaders of the Kachin National Consultative Assembly(KNCA) The government offered a verbal ceasefire with the KIO. The KIO told them they must first agree to recognise their political rights before any discussion regarding a ceasefire could commence. A document was prepared and sent to Myanmar high-ranking state officials and military leaders. However, they would not sign it. They told the KIO that must discuss these details in a meeting. The KIO told them they will not accept any proposal for a political dialogue inside the country. It must take place in a third country under the aegis of foreign mediators. The KIO’s request was refused. KNCA reps: TsumHpawng Sin Wa, Labang Gam Awng, Ding Yau Zau In — sent by U TheinZaw (MP and former military general)
2 30/06/11 Laja Yang Village, Kachin State Maj. Gen. Gun Maw + (4) Col. Than Aung They discussed about ceasefire.
3 01-02/08/11 Laja Yang village, Kachin state Maj. Gen. Gun Maw + (4) Col. Than Aung The KIO demanded that the government negotiate a nationwide ceasefire with all ethnic armed groups. The government wanted them to sign a ceasefire. No agreement was reached but both sides agreed to continue meeting for further discussions.
4 19/11/11 Mae Sai, Thailand Lt. Gen. N’Ban La Aung Min Informal meeting Individual participants included: Nay Win Maung; Myanmar Egress, DrKyaw Yin Hlaing and Tin Maung Than; Burmese academics, HarnYawngwe; executive director of the Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office.
5 29/11/11 Ruili, China Lanyaw Zawng Hra Aung Thaung Full scale delegation level talks. No agreement was reached. Other KIO reps: Col. LahpaiZau Raw, Lt-Col. Lazing JiNawng, Lt-Col. MaranZauTawng, Sumlut Gam and Lama Gum Hpan
6 18-19/01/12 Ruili, China Sumlut Gam + (11) Aung Thaung The government continued to try to convince the KIO to sign a ceasefire but they refused. Discussions lasted two hours.
No agreement was reached. KIO complained that the Myanmar military was attacking their frontline position while talks were going on
7 8,9,10/03/12 Ruili, China Sumlut Gam + (7) Aung Thaung 3 day meeting No agreement reached but a joint statement was signed that tentatively agreed on five points. Some of which included: continue political dialogue, building trust, a drawdown in troop levels, coordination of military activities in the conflict zone.
8 21/05/12 Chiang Rai, Thailand Maj. Gen. Gun Maw, Brig. Dr. La Ja Aung Min Informal Meeting
9 1/06/12 Maija Yang Sumlut Gam +(4) Aung Min Informal Meeting
10 20/06/12 Maija Yang Sumlut Gam +(4) Aung Min Informal Meeting
Agreed to aim toward more meaningful talks in the next round, including the presence of army C-in-C Soe Win. Aung Min laid out a map detailing the government’s proposal for the relocation of military bases to sites where both armies would be farther apart.
11 30/10/12 Ruili, China Sumlut Gam Aung Min Agreement was reached to continue talks and proceed with further political dialogue.
12 4/02/13 Ruili, China Sumlut Gam, Maj. Gen. Gun Maw Aung Min
13 11-12/03/13 Ruili, China Sumlut Gam, Maj. Gen. Gun Maw Aung Min 2 day meeting, 5 point statement Observers: 4 from UNFC, 2 from SSPP, 2 from RCSS, 2 from NDAA, 4 from PCG and Minister-Counselor Mr. Wang Zongying of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC and 2 from the PRC
14 28-30/05/13 Myitkyina, Kachin State Sumlut Gam, Maj. Gen. Gun Maw and other leaders (48 delegates) U Aung Min, Lt. Gen. MyintSoe and ministers (44 delegates) UPWC led by U Aung Min and KIO led by U SuamLut Gam discussed for peace in Majwe hall in Myitkyina city, Kachin State on 28-30 May. Both parties signed 7 points agreement. Those 7 points agreement is:

  1. The Government of Myanmar and the KIO agree to hold political dialogue.
  2. The Parties agree to undertake efforts to achieve de-escalation and cessation of hostilities.
  3. The Parties agree in principle to establish joint Monitoring Committees.
  4. The Parties agree to continue to undertake relief, rehabilitation, and resettlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in consultation with each other.
  5. The Parties agree to continue discussions on military issued related to repositioning of troops.
  6. The Parties agree to the establishment of a Myitkyina-based KIO representative and technical team in order to undertake necessary measures for the peace process more effectively.
  7. The Parties agreed to continue to allow the participation of representatives of all observer groups that are present in the peace meeting held on May 28-30, 2013 for the upcoming meeting. If either wishes to invite additional observers, the Parties also agreed to invite these additional observers in consultation with each other.
15 08-10/10/13 Myitkyina Sumlut Gam, Maj.Gen. Gun Maw, Col. Laphai Zau Raw, Col. Zau Tawng, Naw Htoi, 8 representatives from KIO Aung Min, Lt. Gen MyintSoe (30 from govt/ 53 from KIO/ 24 from ethnic armed groups/ and CSOs/ total 115) KIO and UPWC signed 7-point preliminary agreement in Myitkyina on 10 Oct 2013. It includes

  1. preparing for political dialogue
  2. cooperate to de-escalate the clashes
  3. two technical teams working together to implement pilot projects for resettlement of IDPs
  4. to establish a joint monitoring committee
  5. to re-open major roads
  6. KIO can make public consultations
  7. two technical teams will cooperate and discuss for coming peace talks
16 16/09/13 Myitkyina KIO Advisory technical team MPC technical team Informal meeting
17 02/10/13 Myitkyina KIO Advisory technical team UPWC – MPC Informal meeting
discuss over 5 issues,

  1. both side-firing situation
  2. IDPs
  3. Military code of conduct(joint monitoring committee)
  4. political talks 5. Others etc…
18 13/05/14 Myitkyina, Kachin state KIO UPWC UPWC and KIO held a formal meeting on May 13, 2014. KIO and UPWC met on May 13 in Myitkyina, Kachin state and released a joint statement after the meeting. They agreed to reduce the clashes.
19 28/05/14 Myitkyina, Kachin state KIO advisory technical team UPWC KIO and UPWC held an informal meeting on May 28, 2014 in Myitkyina, Kachin state. After the meeting, KIO and UPWC formed a joint committee to mediate the conflicts between KIO and government forces and reduce the clashes in Kachin state. In the joint committee, Col. Than Aung leads the government team and Col. Zau Tawng leads KIO team. The joint committee has equal number of representative. There are 5 representatives from each side included in the joint committee.
20 05/07/14 Myitkyina, Kachin state KIO technical team Col. Than Aung (minister of Kachin state border affairs) Informal Meeting
The government and delegates from the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) held a third round of peace talks in Myitkyina on July 5 in an attempt end skirmishes between rebel forces and the army.
21 12/08/2014 Myitkyina KIO/A led by Col. Zau Tawng Myanmar army officials led by Col. Than Aung (Kachin state border affairs minister) Informal Meeting
Conflict-resolution teams representing Govt (5 rep) and KIO (5 rep) held talks in Myitkyina on August 12, following recent skirmishes between Burma army and KIA forces in Hpakant area on August 8 and 10. “Both sides had some misunderstandings so we held talks,” a Kachin State official said.
22 05/09/2014 Myitkyina KIO Col. Than Aung, Government officials (including the Ministry of Border Affairs and Security in Kachin State) and Col Zaw Taung, a leader of the KIO negotiation team crisis resolve
23 10/09/2014 Bangkok Col. James Lwan Daung (KIO Reps of IR), BRAT- U Mg Kyaw Nu (Chairperson) NA Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) released a meeting video file on youtube on 7th, September. In this video file, U Mg Kyaw Nu chairperson of BRAT, discussed with General James Lwan Daung, KIO IR man, in Bangkok on 2nd March.

Rejected meeting invitations:

01/06/2011 KIO’s demand for political dialogue and withdrawal of the army from locations close to the areas under control of the KIA as a precondition to further talks were turned down by the government delegation.
09/07/2012 KIA refused to attend scheduled meeting in Bhamo because of an army offensive launched during the weekend near Laiza. The Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Gen. Soe Win was also scheduled to attend the talks.
25/08/2012 KIO rejected an invitation from the government to hold peace talks in Naypyidaw saying it would be “impossible” to meet in the country’s capital while its own headquarters remains under siege.
15/04/2012 Rejection of 4th meeting in Myitkyina. Spokesman La Nan said the KIO could not meet in Myitkyina at this time because the government has escalated its military activities in the area, reinforced troops near KIO headquarters in Laiza, and appeared to be preparing for an assault on KIO outposts.


Developments

The KIO agreed to continue talks with the government through the UNFC at a venue outside of government-controlled areas of Myanmar (Jan.22, 2013).
They want a formal “political dialogue” but will not take part in ‘ceasefire talks”. They are advocating for a pushing for an all-inclusive ethnic conference similar that follows the 1947 Panglong agreement. A wide range of ethnic issues and political problems could be discussed with the government, including the release of prisoners on both sides and the rebuilding of villages affected by the long-running war among ethnic groups.
It was reported in June, 2012 that the government decided to drop Article 17/1 outlawing the KIO. However, both the army and police officials continue to arrest people under 17/1 and those already charged were never released.
The KIO and Kachin peace brokers close to the Myanmar government opened a “justice and negotiation center” in Prang Ngawn, a village in Loijay Township. The center is supposed to be used for future negotiations and will store all records about the peace talks. It will also be place where “anyone can come and give advice” about the peace process (18/09/2012). The center has not yet been be used for peace talks.

Joint Committee for Dispute resolving formed in KIA office in Myintkyinar (May 28)

KIO and Government peace team formed a joint conflict-solving coordinating team (May 28)


Clashes

2012: 2,400 clashes (according to KIO) 1095 clashes (according to government)

  • At least 700 KIA soldiers are reported to have died since October, 2012 (anonymous source close to govt) It is believed that many died after the government launched a large scale offensive on KIO positions near Laiza in December 2012. Unofficial KIO estimates of the government death toll ranges from 5,000 -10,000 (anonymous source close to KIO)
  • 35 govt soldiers killed, 190 injured (according to govt figures)
  • Over 100,000 IDPs from Kachin and northern Shan states (various public sources)
  • 56 attacks on railroad tracks from Mandalay to Myitkyina, 15 attacks on Myitkyina-Sumprabum road, 42 times attacks on Myitkyina-Bhamo road (govt source)
  • attacks on infrastructures such as communication towers, 1 electric power grid, 1 power plant (govt source)

Partnerships

The 88 Generation Students Group leaders held a meeting with a high-ranking officials from the KIO/KIA in Laiza, Kachin state. (06/01/2013)

International observers:
HarnYawnghwe of the Euro Burma office and representatives of the Switzerland-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue have attended some of the talks as observers.


Statements

  • demanded that the agreement be signed in the presence of an international organization; called on Japan to act as an international mediator in peace talks with the government (27/04/12)
  • the government and ethnic Kachin rebels are blaming each other for fighting in northern Myanmar, the government is denying it carried out air attacks on rebel-held territory
  • the Myanmar public has a right to know how many soldiers have been killed during the Kachin conflict, the war is taking up large amounts of the national budget, it could be spent on far better things like healthcare and education (24/09/2012)
  • the KIO urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene in the Kachin conflict and do more to provide humanitarian aid to an estimated 75,000 internally displaced persons (26/09/2011, 01/05/2012, 15/05/2012), they also called on all stakeholders and the international community to help find a solution
  • called to stop offensives (16/09/2012, 28/02/2012)
  • claims that the government’s peace process is just a show for the government as they continue to reinforce troops (03/11/2011)
  • a KIO official said that the failure of talks was because Myanmar government ministers did not accept that fighting between the two sides is a political issue. (06/12/2011, 19/04/2012)

Mar 11, 2015 – KIO released a statement on students protest in Letpadan

Feb 12, 2015 – KIO released a statement on Union Day

Nov 20, 2014 – KIO released a statement on Myanmar army attacked on KIA military academy

May 13, 2014 – KIO and UPWC joint statement of the Myitkyinar talk to form the conflict mediation team

Mar 28, 2014 – An interview with KIO Spoke Person in Irrawaddy News

Oct 10, 2013 – KIO and Govt 7 points agreement

Jan 20, 2013 – KIO’s statement on armed conflicts in Kachin state

Jan 19, 2013 – KIO reply to the President’s office statement saying Burmese stop the conflict in Kachin state

Dec 24, 2012 – KIO object Myanmar Northern military command commander Brig. GenTun Tung Naing’s warning letter


Reference: Deciphering Myanmar’s Peace Process – A Reference Guide (2022 – 2023)


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