Armed Wing: Kachin Independence Army
Government Name: Kachin State Special Region-2
Founded: 5 February 1961
(Excluding the KIO’s MHH and MKM civilian militia forces)
The KIO’s armed wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is the second-largest ethnic armed group in Myanmar. The KIO claims to have 10,000 troops with another 10,000 reservists in the civilian population ready to fight.
The KIO generates large revenues from its rich natural resources, which has enabled them to create a powerful army and develop trade centers in several cities along the Sino-Myanmar border. e.g. Laiza, Mai Ja Yang A 17-year ceasefire, which for many years was the only written agreement that the government had with any armed group, ended less than 3 months after the nominally civilian government took power in 2011.
The contributing factor was the KIO’s refusal to join the government’s BGF scheme. The construction of the Myitsone dam – that would flood large tracts of land in KIOcontrolled territories was also a major source of tension. Although the Myanmar state media started referring to the KIO as an illegal organization from 2009-2010, the ceasefire did not break down until government troops attacked the KIO’s Sang Gang outpost on June 9, 2011.
KIA’s 8 brigades:
The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO/KIA), which signed a ceasefire agreement with the military junta on February 24th, 1994, has been fighting the Tatmadaw (military) since U Thein Sein took office in 2010.
The KIO rejected the U Thein Sein administration’s offer to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), maintaining the principle of inclusion of all ethnic armed groups. The group resigned from the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which collapsed because of the NCA, and joined the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC) led by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which includes seven ethnic armed groups from northern Myanmar, and is seeking peace and political dialogues.
Representatives of the four members of the Northern Alliance led by the KIO and the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), met in Kengtung, Shan State, on August 31, 2019, to discuss an immediate end to the fighting and the possibility of a bilateral ceasefire agreement. It was agreed to continue negotiations for the NCA only after the signing of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. The KIO issued a statement welcoming the Chinese President’s visit to Myanmar in 2020.
Discussions were held on cooperation with the government in the prevention and control of COVID-19 and the KIO recommended issuing peace declarations be issued in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 policy of no discrimination against people living in any part of the state. On December 28th, 2018, the group had also called on the Tatmadaw to declare a nationwide ceasefire.
Ceasefire & Peace Process:
Liaison offices: Technical Advisory
Official delegation team
Previously: 22 liaison offices in Kachin and Shan states under the 1994: Myitkyina and Bhamo.
KIO’s technical advisory team office is also running as a liaison office.
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
Peace Creation Group
The Peace-talk Creation Group is made up of Kachin businessmen. They have
|#||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:
|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
|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,
|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.
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)
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)
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)
HarnYawnghwe of the Euro Burma office and representatives of the Switzerland-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue have attended some of the talks as observers.
- 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