Kachin Independence Organisation

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Kachin Independence Organisation

ကချင်လွတ်လပ်ရေး အဖွဲ့ချုပ်
ChairmanN'Ban La[1]
Vice chairmansGam Shawng
Sumlut Gam
Deputy chairmansGun Maw
Zong Buk Htan
Founded1960 (1960)
HeadquartersLaiza (since 2005)
Pajau (formerly)
Armed wingKachin Independence Army
IdeologyKachin self-determination
Party flag
Kachin Independence Army flag.svg

The Kachin Independence Organisation (Burmese: ကချင်လွတ်လပ်ရေး အဖွဲ့ချုပ်; abbreviated KIO) is a Kachin political organisation in Myanmar (Burma), established on 5 February 1961.[2] It has an armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, which operates in Kachin and Shan State.


In 1960, two Kachin dissidents and ex-soldiers of the Burma Army, Lamung Tu Jai and Lama La Ring, contacted fellow dissident Zaw Seng and founded the Kachin Independence Organisation. Zaw Seng became the first leader of the KIO, Zaw Tu became the first deputy leader, and Lama La Ring became the first secretary. They provided the KIO with ammunition to form a 27-member private army.

On 5 February 1960, the KIO's private army raided a bank, among other activities. When Burmese authorities began responding to the KIO's actions, many young Kachin dissidents went underground to join the KIO. A year later on 5 February 1961, the KIO's 100-strong private army was reorganised into the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and became the KIO's armed wing, with Zaw Seng as commander in chief. Following the 1962 Burmese coup d'état, the KIO expanded its armed wing with new recruits, who dissented against the new military junta under General Ne Win.

Soldiers from Myanmar's Tatmadaw (armed forces) fought KIA insurgents for over 33 years until a ceasefire was brokered between the two opposing sides in 1994. The ceasefire lasted for 17 years until June 2011, when the Tatmadaw resumed operations against the KIA.[3]

Aside from its major towns and railway corridor, KIO/A-controlled areas in Kachin State remained virtually independent and isolated from the rest of Myanmar from the mid-1960s through 1994, with an economy based on cross-border jade trade with China and narcotics trafficking. In 2005, the KIO moved its headquarters from Pajau to Laiza, and established a military academy and training school.


The KIO operate an education system in areas under their control, running over 200 schools.[4]


The KIO funds most of its armed wing's activities through the cross-border trade with China of jade, timber and gold. Money is also raised through KIA-imposed taxes on locals.[5]



  1. ^ Kumbun, Joe (2 January 2018). "Analysis: KIO Kicks Off New Year with New Leadership". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  2. ^ Smith, Martin (1991). Burma: Insurgency and the politics of ethnicity (2. impr. ed.). London: Zed Books. ISBN 0862328683.
  3. ^ "Kachin army ambush leaves 30 dead- DVB Multimedia Group". DVB Multimedia Group. 8 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  4. ^ https://www.mmtimes.com/special-features/165-back-to-school-2013/6754-education-takes-a-hit-in-kachin-state.html
  5. ^ Leithead 2010.