Kachin Independence Army

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Flag of the Kachin Independence Army.

The Kachin Independence Army (Kachin: ShangLawt Hpyen, Burmese: ကချင် လွတ်မြောက်ရေး တပ်မတော်; abbreviated KIA) is the military army of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), a political group composed of ethnic Kachins in northern Burma (Myanmar). The Kachins are a coalition of six tribes whose homeland encompasses territory in Yunnan, China and Northeast India, in addition to Kachin State in Burma. In May 2012, the Associated Press reported that the rebel group had approximately 8,000 troops.[1]

The KIA was formed on February 5, 1961 in response to a military coup in Burma led by General Ne Win, who attempted to consolidate Burmese control over regions on the periphery of the state which were home to various ethnic groups. From 1961 through 1994, the KIA fought a grueling and inconclusive war against the Burmese junta. Originally the KIA fought for independence, but now the official KIA policy goal is for autonomy within a federal union of Burma.[citation needed]

The 1994 ceasefire agreement between the KIA and the Burmese junta froze the conflict in place.[citation needed] The KIA has not disarmed or surrendered and continues to recruit, train and mobilize soldiers.[2] Prior to the ceasefire, the KIA was predominantly a low-tech guerrilla force, but peace has provided the breathing room to establish a military academy and to design rigorous officer training programs.[3]

The KIA is fully funded by the KIO, which raises revenue through taxes (in their area) and trading resources such as jade, timber and gold. Although well equipped for jungle warfare, the KIA does not have much modern weaponry.[citation needed] Their rifles are a motley collection of AK-47s, home-made rifles such as a KA-07, and commanders claim to have some artillery. KIA headquarters are located outside the town of Laiza, in southern Kachin state near the Chinese border.[2] Former headquarters, located at Pajau, are a 2 to 3 hour drive from Laiza, high in the mountains along the border.[citation needed]

Although the ceasefire between the government and the KIA has endured since 1994,[4] in 2009 many Kachins expected a renewed outbreak of war in conjunction with elections scheduled for 2010. The Military junta that runs Burma demanded that all ethnic armies disarm before the 2010 general elections because the new constitution requires only one army in Burma. According to Gen. Gam Shawng Gunhtang, the chief of staff of the KIA, the demands to disarm were "not acceptable" because he regards that disarming KIA does not guarantee peace between the Military junta and KIA.[5] In February 2010 Alastair Leithead reported for the BBC that KIA's Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Gam Shawng said "I can't say if there will be war for sure, but the government wants us to become a border guard force for them by the end of the month", and "We will not do that, or disarm, until they have given us a place in a federal union and ethnic rights as was agreed in Panglong Agreement in 1947".[2]

In October 2010 KIA commanders informed the BBC that they have "10,000 regular troops and 10,000 reservists", but the BBC had no way to confirm this,[4] and in 2009 Thomas Fuller of the New York Times estimated their numbers at about 4,000 active soldiers.[5] The soldiers are divided into five brigades, plus one mobile brigade. Most are stationed in bases close to the Chinese border, in strips of territory held by the KIO.[5] One brigade is stationed in northern Shan state, where there is a large Kachin population.[citation needed]

New outbreak of violence in 2011-2012[edit]

In 2011 General Sumlut Gun Maw confirmed the renewal of fighting in the state of Kachin for independence.[6][7] One of the new reasons for ending the ceasefire was the creation of the Myitsone Dam, which requires the submergence of dozens of villages in Kachin state.[8]

The 2011–2012 Kachin Conflict in 2011 had displaced between 35,000 and 75,000 people and killed hundreds.[9]


New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK) is a defected part of KIA led by Zahkung Ting Ying which affiliated with Burma Communist Party in 1968 before it was created as NDAK formally in Dec 1989.[10]

Forcible recruitment[edit]

Thousands of protesters gathered in Myitkyina on 20 December 2013 to demonstrate against the forcible recruitment of ethnic Shan people into the KIA. The KIA has allegedly recruited about 100 Taileng fighters from Mansi Township in late 2013.[11][12]

Historical Background (1948 - 1975)[edit]

The Rising of a group of Kachin insurgence[edit]

1. Naw Seng, a Kachin who went underground at the riot between Kayin-Bama taking place in 1949 as in the rank of captain from No. (1) Kachin battalion joined KNDO. He was in active movement in northern Shan State as a KNDO force in1950. At that time Zaw Seng who was attending the eighth standard at the government high school in Lasho, making contact with Naw Seng, went underground. When Naw Seng took refuge in China in 1951, Zaw Seng was, instead of accompanying him, in a tumult in the movement of KNDO in Than-daung and Baw-ga-li.

2. In 1959, Gilitlin, by the Kachin name of Zaw Bawk, assigned as a counselor, was sent to organize the inhabitants to carry out the underground operations in the area of northern Shan State. Zaw Seng, together with Gilitlin, took shelter in Nant Un village, Ho Kone district where his mother served as a teacher and began his mission. Zaw Tu, Zaw Seng’s younger brother who was a university student ran away from the university and, joining with Zaw Seng, also went underground.

Moreover, Lance Corporal Lamung Tu Jai who was educating in Theinni after being dismissed from No.(4) Kachin battalion and Lama La Ring who returned to Kutkai after leaving the university, having contact with Zaw Seng, formed Kachin Independence Organization (K.I.O.) in 1960.

3. In the KIO Zaw Seng took charge as the head of the unit, Zaw Tu as the deputy head and Lama La Ring as the secretary. While being the time of attacking to take position among politicians, they provided KIO with ammunitions to form it as a private army resulted in an armed group with the strength of 27 members.

The Starting of KIA Insurgency[edit]

4. KIO started its armed movements ever since the bank raid of on February 5, 1960. No sooner did the insurgents start the armed attacks than the Kachin youths organized by Zaw Saing and Zaw Tu went underground simultaneously. By the strength of 100, Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Kachin Independence Council (KIC) were formed in Lwe Tauk, Theindi on February 5, 1961, taking the responsibility of the chief-commander by Zaw Saing and the major-commander by Gyilitlin.

5. A base camp built far about 10 miles in the east of Sin Li village near Kuk Khine, Northern Shan State, No. (1) a basic military course was run on March 16, 1961.

No. (1) KIA battlion was established in Monbar, Bammaw and No. (2) in Mon Si and Mon Htan by La Mar La Rein with the strength of 300 people.

In addition, Villagers’ Defence Forces equipped with percussion lock firearms were ordered to disturb the Tatmadaw forces.

6. Taking advantage upon prescribing Buddhism as the State’s religion on August 26, 1961, demonstration against the announcement upon inclusion of Phimaw, Gawlan and Kanphan regions into China in the borderline treaty of China-Burma, and demanding the Federal Policy from Shan Monarchy, KIO had an opportunity to attack. Based on the narrow racial perspective, by means of racial abhorrence and antiradicalism of Burma they made alert with an aim of establishing Independent Kachin Republic. Thus, many innocent younger generations were under the Kachin Insurgents.

7. At such period of political crisis, Buddhism was prescribed as the State’s religion by the meeting of two parliaments. Although Buddhism became the State’s religion, since there was the right to have independent reverence according to No. 17 Act, 1962, Law of constitution (third amendment), no significance arouse. However, those of other religions mistook that they did not have independent reverence and protested in anger. KIO consisting of only 27 members then became strong by organizing with the reason that they lost independent reverence. Several Kachin nationals protested against the inclusion of Kachin areas Phimaw, Gawlan, Kanphan areas of Kachin into China territory.

The Organization that fell through in peace talk[edit]

8. Local peace talk was taken place in Yangon as well as in respective regions. For example, the meeting with Rakine communist party of Kway Zan Shwee were held in Ngapali; Kachin insurgents in Mandalay.

9. In early 1963, KIA had already formed one Brigade and six battalions and developed up to the strength of over 1,000. Though there were almost 300 in the areas of Lasho - Kut khine; about 380 in Bammaw - Myit Kyi Nar in 1962, yet it was increasing after having occupied Bam Maw - Sein Lone road and Bam Maw- Man Wane road through the extension to the west bank of the Irrawaddy and northeastern Myit Kyi Nar and Hu Kaung valley.

10. On announcing the offering of the local peace by the revolution council on June 11, 1963, KIA arrived at Bam Maw by the arrangement of the revolution council after the correspondence in negotiation. Zaw Dan, the agent from KIA, together with his body, arrived at Mandalay via Bam Maw on August 31, 1963. Then, the divisional authorities met with him again on behalf of the representative of the revolution council on September 1, 1963 after the tentative talk with Brigade officer, No.7 Brigade.

11. During talks, Zaw Dan, with his members, demanded the following points_

(a) to give rights to own rules and freedom to respective ethnic groups,

(b) to establish private sovereignty, the main aim of the armed revolution of Kachin public,

(c) To sign in agreement in the treaty of friendship dealing after the secession based on following facts-

(1) to pay mutual respect to restore the territory and sovereignty.

(2) not to invade.

(3) not to intervene in local affairs.

(4) to deal equal and reciprocal effects.

(5) to live in co-existence.

12. All requests are to disintegrate totally but there was no comply. In addition, Zaw Tu, one of the top list leaders of KIA occupied almost all of villages in Kar Mie,

Bam Maw during the period of talks. For the failure of talks, KIA collected man, weapon and ammunition with heart and soul and the strength developed up to 20,000 by the end of 1963.

KIA after the failure of the peace Talk[edit]

13. Kachin insurgents or KIA could have formed one brigade and six battalions before the peace talk in 1963 by the strength of over 1000. During the talk, with the revolution council, the representative group led by Zaw Dan gathered people and obtained money by extortion. Then, Zaw Tu crossed the Ayeyarwaddy and invaded Ka Mine, a site where gem could be explored. Almost all villages in Ka Mine were under the influence of KIA. The strength of KIA developed up to over 20,000 by the end of 1963 through collecting man, weapon and ammunitions.

14. In 1964, KIA formed Brigade (2). Zaw Sai commanded Brigade (1) consisted of Battalion (1), (2) and (5). Brigade (1) based on Mon Bar Par village, Mansi township (SO-4888). Brigade 2 was commanded by Zaw Too and it based in Magibon (S-4404). Then Battalion 7 was formed with strength 800 and Zaw Too commanded it. Battalion 7 was formed based on VDF.

15. Zaw Too increased the strength of Brigade 2 up to 1400 personnel and it operated in Putao, Chibwe, Lawkhaung, Myitkyina, Bamaw and Kokant. The top leaders of KIA, Zaw Sai, Zaw Dan and Zaw Too, were popular as Three Zaws in November 1964.

16. Tatmataw defeated and carried out many operations to the KIA in 1964 December because their strength decreased in Kachin state and northern Shan state.

Operations carried by the Tatmataw were_

(a) Gan Gaw Operation.

(b) Aung Myay Operation.

(c) Kaung Ya Bwam Operation.

(d) Kha Yang Operation.

17. KIA was defeated seriously by the operations of Myanmar Tatmadaw 1964 and December to September 1965. These operations resulted in 696 wounded and 377 dead of KIA personnel. 2223 KIA surrendered and 1064 personnel were arrested by the Myanmar Tatmadaw. Therefore, the strength of KIA was less in the year of 1965 and 1966.

18. KIA was defeated in every corner and the leaders of KIA tried to recover in many ways. Chief of KIA Zaw Hsaing went to Thailand to look for help and established a base for drug and jade trade at the border area Htaan Woo(LU-0505). G Lit lin(Zaw Bout) served as the advisor of Zaw Hsaing. Zaw Hsaing also tried to seek the assistance from SEATO by going Chainmai, Bangkok and Fawmoser in December 11, 1965. The foreign contact person Mabransaing went to the Chaw Kan valley and discussed for India assistance in 1966. However it was not successful.

19. In early 1966, Tatmadaw extracted some forces form the operations of Kachin State to establish the 77 Brigade to be able to defeat the Communist Party of Burma (CPB). At this period, KIA got chances to make its strength stronger.

KIA took contact the neighbouring country[edit]

20. After the strike of students broke out in 1967 June26, the leader of KIA Zaw Too was supported by the neighbouring country. At that time, KIA regained its strength. KIA tried seriously to get the help of other countries for their plan.

21. In 1967 July, the political incharge of KIA brigade 2 Mabransain and his fellows 34 went the neighbouring country and attended the military and political courses and they also tried to get weapon supporting. They got 42 rifles, 36 bombs and 2 boxes of bullets and got back in September.

22. After that, commander of brigade 2 Zaw Too and his parties left for the foreign countries in October 2, 1967. He was accompanied by the secretary Pon Shwe Zaw Hsaing and Bransaing. There were altogether 425 men. This party tried to get the help in weapon, political and military.

23. Zaw Too and CPB agreed to fight the Government. Zaw Too and his party got 800 rifles, 170,000 bullets and equipments. KIA decided to participate with PCB to be able to fight against the government.

24. In 1968, January 27, Zaw Too and his parties came back with automatic machine guns and weapons. After that they equipped the weapons to the Mai Ron Con Jar and Con Sar Bout Naws’ fighting group. For that they could fight the government forces with the supporting of foreign countries.

25. Zaw Too organized the local people by propagading the Communist policy and doctrine of Maw Si Tone. However, the local people did not believe in that ideology, so as in the members of KIA. The minorities of Maru, Lisue and Lachate did not satisfy with the policy of appoiting only JeanFaw ethnic as leaders. Moreover, followers did not satisfy with the governing of the Zaw Hsaing, Zaw Dan and Zaw Too.

26. In 1968 March, Zelwan(Maru) and Sakhon Teinyein(Lachate) seceded from KIA and their parties about 120 went the neighboring country and cooperate with the PCB. Based on that cooperation, Burma Communist Party could base in Kachin State, Chee Bwe, Law khaung and Sawlt Law since 1968.

KIA in 1971 to 1972[edit]

27. KIA got the help from other they had much conflict often with CPB. KIA took Contact the Tatmadaw by the increasing of PCB in Kotkhaing. They only fought the PCB. In 1969, Zaw Dan and his parties fought the Kachin (4). KIA from Northern Shan state took part negotiation with PCB regiment (202) and (303). Since 1970 KIA brigade (2) regiment (5) and (6) were controlled by Zaw Too and smuggled jade to Thailand from Kar Mine and Pha kant. Then they bought the weapons from Thailand. China also supported the weapons and trained the Phiso Naga from India. They also kept the weapons from Naga and send back them. There was a relationship with Pakistan and it cut out when the Bangladeshi appeared. Chief of the brigade (1) Zaw Dan equipped the weapons and trained the Rakhine insurgents. He also negotiated the authorized person from Thailand and his headquarters was opened in Thailand.

28. In 1972, headquarters of KIA in Thanwoo of Thailand led by Zaw Hsaing, brigade (1) was in Koot Khaing, Lashio District and Bamaw under the control of Zaw Dan and brigade (2) was in Pha Kant and Myit Kyee Na by Zaw Too kept in there and tried to get the help from the neighbouring countries. They tried to increase the trade of jade and drag.

The Strength of KIA in 1972[edit]

29. KIA

(a) Head office of KIA; Zaw Hsaing.

(b) Brigade (1); Zaw Dan and 148. (c) Lashio district and Ban Maw district

(1) Lwan Daunt and battalion (2) Zaw Bon and battalion (8) Daung Khaung and battalion (9) are responsible for Lashio district. (2) Dwa Yaung and battalion (1) Gawruledwa and battalion (5) are responsible for Bamaw district.

(D) Brigade (2); With Zaw Tu and follower 1469 persons, Zaw Baut and battalion (3), Zote Diang and battalion (4), Lamarlarein and battalion (6), Zaw Baut and battalion (5) Madinkeyyaw and battalion (10), Kadawzawsai and battalion (11) were responsible for Myitkyina district and the western part of Ayeyarwaddy.

(E) Total strength; 2950 persons inside the country and opened headquarter at Htan Woe, Thialand.

Contact and Conflict between insurgents

30. CPB and KIA: Since 1950, some CPB went abroad and got their political and military assistance. KIA tried to get the assistance from border countries every time. Because of foreign students’ revolution, foreign nations made an agreement to support ammunition, political and military training. In 1967 July, the leader Mayanbaransai and front group 34 persons went abroad. After the meeting with foreign nations’ authority at one town, KIA agreed to accept communism and foreign nations agreed to pay political and military assistance. After that, KIA 425 persons group that was led by Zaw tu, Zaw Dan, Lamontujai, Mayanbayansai, Ponshwe Zawsai went to foreign nations from 4th Nov, 1967 to 27th Jan, 1968 and discussed with Ba Thein Tin and Naw Sai at one town. From that time on KIA got the political and military assistance from abroad and conducted more military struggle.

31. Since the end of 1976, KIA established (9) regiment and 1750 personnel increased in Kachin State, and 500 persons in Northern Shan State. At the same time, they got ammunition from Zaw Sai who was based in Htanwoe, Thailand. In 1968, They grouped as special combat troops and fought Myitkyina area and occupied the camp of Kowapan (NY- 2044 ), Duyitgar (NY- 0466), Tingarukaung (NY-8504). In 1968, opened regiment (10) led by Zaw Diang.

32. Although Zaw Too accepted communism and foreign nation’s idea, subordinate and public disliked communism. As the original organization of KIA based on narrow racial and religious belief, it was opposite with communism. Although KIA and CPB accepted together foreign type communism, in 1968, January, CPB Naw Sai entered Monekoe (S-2499) as paralled in economically. In 1968 March, from KIA regiment (4), group one leader Maru Zay Lwan and, group (5) leader Zakonteinyein and follower 120 seceded from KIA and sheltered to foreign nation. Zay Lwan and Zakonteinyein groups cooperated to CPB as CPB regiment (10), which created KIA anger to CPB.

33. CPB asked Kachin Captain Naw Sai to lead KIA and Kachin native in organizing easily. But the conflict between KIA and CPB became stronger. In 1968, 21 April, the meeting at KIA brigade (2) headquarters regarded CPB of Na Sai forces as the first enemy and started fighting in June. And also Zaw Tu abandoned the communism. Although KIA was fighting to CPB, they contacted with foreign nations to get ammunition and assistance. In 1969, they sent India Fiso Narga insurgents to foreign nation to attend the training. After that they got ammunition from Narga in the care of foreign nations. They recruited 13 years old boys and girls forcefully.

34. Battalion 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 were grouped under KIA Brigade (1) and also battalion 3, 4, 6, 7 were grouped under brigade (2). As regarded CPB as a first, KIA avoided Tatmadaw and fought CPB. They took contact the Tatmadaw and tried to build mutual understanding.

35. Zay Lwan and Sakhonteinyein were seceded from KIA after coming back from foreign training. Then they formed Bakapa battalion (101). Zay Lwan and 200 persons group entered Khantan valley road (SD-9510), in 1969, 19 May, Kanpaiktee (SD-9517) in 20 May, in 1969, 27 May Sakhonteinyein and 200 persons group fought Tanlon (NZ-3969) police station and entered local area. After that, they met KIA in Chiphwe, Lawkhaung, Sawlaw region in eastern Maykha. The leader Zaw Diang and brigade (1) got agreement with Tatmadaw in Kutkhaing region. In 1969 the first week of February, ambushed Kachin (4) convoy. At the same time, they got understanding with CPB brigade (202, 303) and got ceasefire again.

36. In 1969, July KIO committee meeting decided the master political plan for Wanpaung country Independent group. In the way of KIA: made clearance of the independence group of Wanpaung’s political belief and objectives, the main points, the enemy to fight, which was nation, which was enemy, the basic of Wanpaung development, attitude and foreign affairs.

37. KIA group led by Zaw Tu recruited the new personnel from basic areas and trained as Village Defence Forces (VDF) and Local Gorilla Forces (LGF) or commando forces together. They forced the heads of the villages to attend the training courses. Although Mayanbaransai went abroad and reported the position of CPB, foreign authority forced to enter only to CPB. In 1970, they agreed to send KIA 220 and Bakapa 150 from Kathar district to foreign nation’s training.

38. In May 1970, KIA set up weapon and ammunition to Rakhaing youth led by Tun Shwe Maung and they attempted to make co-operation in Kachin, Naga, Mizo and Rakhine insurgents. By that time, they also requested East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) for military assistance.

39. Although Burma Communist Party and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) took an agreement and ceasefire, CPB entered into Mone Paw to Southern KIA secretly so both KIA and CPB fought and killed each other. As KIA depended upon the aid of foreign CPB, they could not revolve PCB at all. KIA lost in peace with CPB though they tried to make peace with CPB. That was why, KIA communicated and offered again to Tatmataw. KIA prepared to negotiate with the Government. At that time, KIA recognised the Government as the Common Enemy because La Mohne Too Jaih and CPB leaders negotiated in Mone Pawh and got some agreement. Since KIA could neither give up Foreign Supports nor accept CPB, they often changed and treated between Tatmataw and CPB by Military Affairs.

40. In December 1971, KIA aimed to raise the military affairs and grouped Battalion (11) to four column and tried to fight the Tatmadaw. The Columns were: battalion 5, 6, 12 that was leopard column in western part of Ayeyarwaddy river, led by Zaw Tu. Battalion 1, 2, 8, 9 as Elephant Column that was led by Zaw Dan in Kwutkhaing. In eastern part of Ayeyarwaddy, Lion Column with battalion (3) and (10) was led by Khanhtwe. At Putao region Rhinoceros Column with battalion (4) and (7) were led by Zawein. Although CPB and KIA got agreement, they fought again in 1972. CPB penetrated KIA regions. KIA contacted Tatmadaw and sent delegation. At the same time, they often stopped fighting and discussed in the north of Shan State while fighting with CPB. They still tried to communicate with the right wing group in order to get the help through Thailand. Taking understanding with the Tatmadaw was the temporary escape from jamming situation between two military sides.

41. KIA recognized CPB as common enemy. To fight together with the Tatmadaw, they ask for help with arm, ammunition and medical supplies. On 10 June 1972, the Army stopped fighting so they organized the youths and in the place where tribute was not collected, they collected the tribute regarding as debt including with the years that was not collected. Besides, they broke the rules and giving reason to prevent CPB, they made military activities. Since 1972, they begun to persuade Palaung Battalion (2), and put it under No (1) Brigade of Zaw Dan.

42. KIA central committee meeting was held in Samarbon (SD-6076). During the ceasefire, they increasingly made collection of tribute. On 29 August 1972, they held the central committee meeting in Battalion (6), Hukaung Valley. Before the end of KIA central committee meeting, the Tatmadaw rejected the meeting on 3 October 1972. On 27 October, KIA central committee meeting ended, and they decided and increasingly formed with four armies instead of two armies.

(a) Brigade (1) commanded by Too Jaing northern Kachin State.

(b) Brigade (2) commanded by Zaw Too western Kachin State.

(c) Brigade (3) commanded by Zaw Mai eastern Kachin State.

(d) Brigade (4) by Zaw Dan southern Kachin State.

43. Commander-in-chief of the forces was Zaw Sai and vice-commander-in-chief was Zaw Too. They formed Kachin Freedom Council (KIC). KIC served the duty of central committee and included as follow_

(a) Brigadier Zaw Too Chairman

(b) Salangkabar Pon Shwe Zaw Sai Secretary

(c) Colonel Too Jaing Co-secretary

(d) Colonel Zaw Dan Member

(e) Salangkabar MayanBayang Sai Member

(f) Lieutenant-colonel Lamar Larain Member

(g) Salangkabar Zaw Aung Member

(h) Lieutenant-colonel Zaw Mai Member

(i) Major MayanBayang Taung Member

(j) Major Hkun Cho Member

(k) Major Zaw Bon Economic-in charge

(M) Major Zaw Phan Member

44. There are three organizations under the Kachin Freedom Council (KIA).

(a) Kachin Independent Army (Defence) KIA

(b) Administrative Group

(c) Kachin Independent Organization (KIO)

45. Kachin Freedom Army formed the following general staff organization.

(a) Maj General Zaw Sai Chairman

(b) Brigadier Zaw Too Vice-chairman (Brigade-2)

(c) Colonel Too Jaing Secretary (Brigade-1)

(d) Colonel Zaw Dan Member (Brigade-4)

(e) Lieutenant-Colonel Lamar Larain Associate-Secretary Colonel

(f) Lieutenant-Colonel Zaw Mai Member (Brigade-3)

(g) Major Bayang Taung Member

46. KIA was systematically organized as section, platoon, company, battalion, brigade Battalion (4, 7, 10) went under Brigade (1), Battalion (5, 6, 11) under Brigade (2), Battalion (1, 3) under Brigade (3) and Battalion (2, 8, 9) under Brigade (4). There are different duties of commander for Division Administration, battalion commander for District Administration, group leader for Township Administration and small group leader for Administrative Unit. According to the administration, divisions were divided and took responsibility.

(a) Kachin State, North Division Administration (Brigade-1)

(1) Colonel Lamon Too Jaing Head of Division

(2) Major DweË Shaung Vice-Head of Division

(3) Major Mayan Bayang Shaung Financial Officer

(b) Kachin State, West Division Administration (Brigade-2)

(1) Brigadier Zaw Too Head of Division

(2) Lieutenant-Colonel Lamar Larain Vice-Headof Division

(c) Kachin State, East Division Administration Group (Brigade-3)

(1) Lieutenant-Colonel Zaw Mai Head of Division

(2) Major Hkun Cho Vice-Head of Division

(d) Kachin State, South Division Administration Group (Brigade-4)

(1) Colonel Zaw Dan Head of Division

(2) Major Zaw Phan Vice-Head of Division (Kuart Khaing District)

(3) Lieutenant Too Gaung (Head of Lasio District)

47. KIA was a particular organization and negotiated with administrative group in defence. KIO was led by the leaders as follow:

(a) Brigadier Zaw Too Chairman(Brigade-2)

(b) Colonel Too Jaing Vice-Chairman(Brigade-1)

(c) Salankabar Pon Shwe Zaw Sai Secretary

(d) Colonel Zaw Dan Associate-Secretary

(e) Lieutenant-Colonel Lamar Larain Member

(f) Lieutenant-Colonel Zaw Mai Member

(g) Colonel Mayan Bayaung Taung Member

(h) Salankabar Mayan Bayaung Sai Member

48. Really, Kachin insurgents were systematically organized as fighting forces, administrative organization and organization group. However, leadership was under the influence of Zaw brothers, Zaw Sai, Zaw Too and Zaw Dan. Zaw Sai was the first leader of Kachin insurgents who lived only in Thailand. The second leader, Zaw Too, controlled and commanded KIA who lived in the State. Front Line Military Headquarter (FGHQ) was based in Magyi Bon Region, Kaut Lun village and Military Headquarters situated (NY 6173).

49. Although there are three organizations, KIA (or) fighting Force, Administrative Group and Organization Group in Kachin insurgents which controlled by Kachin Independent Council, KIC, fighting Force was popular. Therefore, all Kachin insurgents were generally called as “KIA”. Between the Army and CPB, according to the favourable condition of military while KIA approached and increased the forces with the help of other country, CPB encountered the conflicts dealt with KIA.

50. The attitude of CPB upon the KIA is not to be an equal role friendship but they intended only to persuade into their party after exploiting as their subordinate organization. CPB appointed Naw Sai as a military incharge in order to take a leadership by means of nationalism. Because of Naw Sai’s argument about fighting with KIA,

Burma Communist Party are not satisfied with him. So they arrested and killed Naw Sai and a Wa national leader secretly on 8 March 1972 and made false notification that Naw Sai died by falling into the gully in the wood. When KIA knew how Naw Sai was killed, the situation between them became worse and fighting started.

51. KIA and Naga Insurgency: KIA communicated with neighbouring countries and all insurgent groups for their own benefit. They tried to organize small insurgent groups. They acted as a buffer between Phizo Naga and Mizo insurgents and foreign countries. They sent Phizo Naga to foreign countries via Myanmar. They got some arms and ammunition in return.

52. They sent a Mizo insurgent group to foreign country in March, 1973. They signed a contract with local Naga insurgents in 2 June 1973. This contract made an agreement on supply of military training and arms by KIA and dividing and distribution of Naga region according to historical tradition. The movement jointly undertaken by KIA and local and Naga insurgents increased in Nant Yun Township at the border of India-Myanmar and KIA gave training course to 100 Naga insurgents at India-Myanmar border, south-west of NS 4257 Khar Shay.

53. KIA and Shan Insurgents: KIA headquarter led by Zaw Sai was situated in Htan Woe in Thailand. So KIA had to go Thailand via Shan State. KIA had to communicate with Shan insurgents.

54. In Shan State, there were different Shan insurgent groups including Pa laung and Pao. SURA (a) Moe Hein group settled their headquarters in Pain Lon in foreign country. Moe Hein group often did battle with SSA, another Shan insurgent group. KIA combined with SURA to get safety in travelling to foreign country and to fight (or) combine with Tatmadaw.

55. FNF (a) Pa Laung National league led by Kham Taung organized Shwe Pa Laung and Ngwe Pa Laung nationals in Mone Wee and Nant San and Mong Ngue regions and Pa Laung insurgents fell under the leadership of No. 3 Military Division of Zaw Dan in 1972. KIA made cooperation with Pa Laung nationals to face with Burma Communist Party and SSA.

56. SSA made settlement in Thailand and made movements in Lwe Khay in Shan State (North). SSA headquarters was led by Chairman Khun Kyar Nu and secretary Set Say Wai and in Lwe Khay region, it was led by Vice-chairman Ohn Paung Pon Taing and Chief-of-Staff Sai Hla Aung. In March 1973, they removed Maha Daewi Nann Hein Kham from the post of president. On 24 May 1973, SSA signed together with Koe Kant insurgent groups Law Sit Han, Maha Sann from Bain Nginn group, Lai U from Man Man Sai group in Man Pa Laung Lwe Khay region.

57. Three representatives led by Sa Kaw Lae Taw from KNU arrived at the headquarters of SSPP in Man Shee, Man Naung region in July, 1973 and asked for assistance for travelling to Burma Communist Party headquarters in Pan Sann. As SSPP had a plan to cooperate with Burma Communist Party, they chose a representative to follow with Sa Kaw Lae Taw. 200 members led by joint secretary Say Htin and 3 representatives left for Pan Sann and arrived there in October, 1973. On 18 November 1973, Burma Communist Party and SSA made an agreement on military cooperation. They took arm and ammunition and left Pan Sann on 27 November and arrived in Mong Bon region on 17 April 1974.

58. Cooperation of Burma Communist Party with SSA made KIA fight with SSA. In 1974, KIA made battle with SSA in Kyauk Mae, Nan Ma Tu region. But in April 1974, they made agreement for area.

59. After breaking up of Koe Kant insurgent group by Thai Government, 20 remnants took refuge at the border of Thailand. KIA organized these remnants.

60. 300 personnel led by Kyan Suu Shin from Lwe Maw insurgent group (Khun Sar group) made movements together with KIA battalion (8). KIA and Lwe Maw group made agreement on giving assistances to each other when necessary.

61. Chinese Military Division (3) and (5) settled in Northern Thailand often made movements in Myanmar. They were fought by Military columns and Burma Communist Party. So they could make movement in Lwe Say, Man Palaung, Man Kyaung, Sut Yet and Wun Sinn regions. KIA got agreement with Kuminton.

62. KIA fought with Burma Communist Party for the death of Naw Sai. They cooperated with SURA (Moe Hein), Koe Kant insurgent (Law Sit Han), Lwe Maw insurgent (Khun Sar) and Pa Laung national league but they did not get good cooperation with SSA, supporter of Burma Communist Party. In western region KIA gave support to local and Naga insurgents and Rakhine insurgents.

63. KIA and Phizo, Leader of Naga National Council (NNC): In-order to avoid Indian Army, Government of India, and Government of Burma's arrest, Phizo Naga took refuge in Naga mountain region in Khann Tee Division since 1963. KIA gave assistance's to Phizo Naga to travel to foreign countries through the land of Kachins in present Myanmar.

The origin of Naga Struggle is traced back to the founding of the Naga Club, in Kohima in 1918. They submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission to exclude the Nagas from any constitutional framework of India. With the coming of Angami Zapu Phizo, popularly called as Phizo, the Naga Movement gained momentum in the late 1940s.

The NNC under Phizo's leadership declared Independence of Nagaland on the 14th of August 1947. It was greeted with great euphoria which echoed all over the Naga hills. Phizo was arrested in 1948 by the Indian Government on charges of rebellion. On his release, Phizo was made the President of the NNC in 1950.

In 1953, a meeting was organized between the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Burmese Prime Minister U Nu, to decide on borders between India and Burma. The separatist leaders termed the meeting as the process of dividing Naga territory between the two countries. Nehru and U Nu visited the Naga areas in India and Burma. On 30 March 1953, when they visited Kohima, the deputy commissioner of the district disallowed the NNC delegation from meeting Nehru, apparently without Nehru's knowledge. Consequently, Nehru's public meeting was boycotted by NNC and its sympathizers.

Currently, the Nagas inhibit in the state of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh in the present North-Eastern State of India and in Myanmar's Sagaing Division and Kachin State. In Myanmar, the Naga territory in Myanmar is marked by Kabo valley in the south bordering to the Chin state, the Kachin on the north and the Burmese on the east. The townships which are populated by the Nagas are: 1. Homalin 2. Lahe with Tanbakwe sub-township 3. Layshi with Mowailut sub-township and Somra sub-township 4. Khamti 5. Khanpat 6. Namyun with Pangsau sub-township 7. Tamu of Sagaing Division and 8. Tanai of Kachin state

Assassination of KIA leaders[edit]

64. KIA fought with Burma Communist Party. They attempted to make discussion with Tatmadaw in October, 1972. But, because of their dishonesty, their discussion was not successful. Then KIA held the Central Committee Meeting from 29 August to 27 October 1972 and KIC, Kachin Subordinate Formation and KIO were systematically reformed.

65. KIA included four Brigades, made up of 11 regiments. Administrative Board and KIO were also formed in villages, townships, districts and divisions. Commander-in-Chief Zaw Sai administered Htam-Poe Camp, Thai and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Zaw Tu took responsibility internally. When Zaw Tu went to Thai in December 1973, La Mon Hu Gyaing took his place. When KIA faced with the attacks of CPB and Tatmadaw in 1973 and 1974, Zaw Sai and Zaw Tu neither came back nor led the action.

CPB gradually defeated KIA areas.

66. Zaw Sai had been in Thai since 1965 and Zaw Tu, left for Thai in December 1973. They arrived there in February 1974. At that moment, KIA basic areas in Northern Shan State were gradually lost and CPB Regiment (101) was penetrating into Sa-Done in East May-Kha. On 1 March 1975, at the battle of KIA and CPB, Zaw Dan, Combat team (4), KIA was killed in action. CPB Regiment (202) attacked KIA Combat Team (4) area and CPB Regiment (2) penetrated KIA Regiment (2) area in East Kut-Khaing through Man-Yon-Maw. Zaw Mai succeeded Zaw Dan and prevented and confronted CPB in Nant-Hai and Nant-Saung-Kye. At that time Zaw Sai and Zaw Tu were in Thai. On 2 February 1975, KIA leader Pon-Shwe Zaw Sai and his team left for Thai. The subordinates were not satisfied with the situation. When offensive actions took place, there were disagreements among KIA leaders. Zaw Sai, Zaw Tu and Pon-Shwe Zaw Sai misused the money gotten from trading of opium and jade.

67. Although Zaw Sai was a leader, he could not lead KIA for a long time. His leadership became powerless because he was out of contact with KIA for about 10 years.

Zaw Tu faced with disapproval of the subordinates. After he had prohibited marriage, he was married with Law-Khaing-Lu-On in 1966 and with Lu-Sai, the second wife in 1973. Social affairs of the leaders made their subordinates disrespectable. They also misused over 10 million.

68. Former KIA Regiment (11), Commanding officer Sai Tu assassinated Zaw Sai, Zaw Tu and Pon-shwe Zaw Sai in Htan-Poe, Thai Border Camp, on 10 August 1975, facing difficulties in political and military affairs. KIA headquarter explained to District and Division Committees that the leaders were assassinated because they manipulated the organization. Gaw-Lu-La-Dwe and the other leaders reported that Sai Tu was a spy and so he killed the leaders intentionally. Thai police arrested Sai Tu on 29 September 1975. Zaw Lmai sent major Khun Cho, commanding Officer of Regiment (8), to Thai to investigate that case. Although it was clear that Sai Tu killed the leaders, no reasons were given for the assassination.

69. Zaw Mai, leading Combat team (4), confronted CPB for ten times since 1 November 1975 and both sides damaged seriously. Zaw Mai took Kyaung-Nat operation, focused on CPB (202) since 26 March 1975. La-Mon-Tu-Gyaing, Chief of Combat team (1) became KIA Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Combat Team (4)

Zaw Mai became Deputy Commander-in-Chief.

70. There were leftist CPB and rightist who wanted to rely on the west among Kachin rebellions. When the leaders fell, Ma-Ran-baran-Sai’s leftist group was stronger.

Therefore there was a chance to cooperate with CPB and difficulties of KIA were also a reason for that cooperation. KIA was urged to be provided through CPB.

Although Thai was the right place for economic affairs, it was a long distance and it has to pass CPB areas to carry weapons to Kachin state. It was easier for trading of opium and jade from Kachin with weapons from Thai if KIA contacted with CPB. In 1976, Ma-Ran-Baran-Sai became the leader and decided to ally with CPB and it was the reunion of CPB and KIA.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AP, 4 May 2012, Myanmar state media report battles between government troops, Kachin rebels killed 31
  2. ^ a b c Leithead 2010.
  3. ^ Jackson, Joe (19 April 2012). "On the Front Lines with the Kachin Independence Army". Time. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b BBC staff 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Fuller 2009.
  6. ^ Operation Victory Journey
  7. ^ Renewed fighting in Kachin state
  8. ^ Myitsonedam
  9. ^ "Security Risks for Kachin IDPS and Refugees". Free Burma Rangers. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Irrawaddy Magazine | ARCHIVES | 10202". Irrawaddy.org. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  11. ^ Shan civilians accuse Kachin rebels of human rights abuses | DVB Multimedia Group
  12. ^ Kachin Rebels Accused of Forced Recruitment in Myanmar | The Irrawaddy Magazine


Further reading[edit]

  • Bertil, Lintner (2002), The Kachin: Lords of Burma's Northern Frontier, Art Media Resources, ISBN 1-876437-05-7 
  • Tucker, Shelby (2001), Among Insurgents: Walking Through Burma (New ed.), Flamingo;, ISBN 0-00-712705-7