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Published on Sunday, 06 January 2013 01:47
The 88 Generation Students Group leaders held a meeting with a high-ranking official from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Laiza, Kachin state, this week to dispel a misconception about the war that has been escalating between the Myanmar army and the KIA.
According to the 88 Generation Students Group, some ethnic nationals living in the rural areas were under the false impression that it is a civil war between the dominant Bamars and the ethnic Kachins.
Mya Aye, Tun Myint Aung, Mi Mi Lwin, and San San Maw left Yangon on Tuesday for the war-affected area in northern Myanmar and met with Maj-General Guan Maw, the KIA deputy chief of staff on Thursday and Friday.
The students group’s office said the information collected from their visit to Laiza will be used to inform and urge the persons involved in peace-making efforts.
Their highest hope is to find a starting point for peace at the beginning of the 2013, the group added.
During their visit, the 88 Generation Students Group donated 14.6 million kyats (US$17,000) and blankets and clothes to the IDP camps in Kachin state.
The visit will be only for five days and the results of the meetings will be announced after the student leaders’ return to Yangon, according to the students group’s office.
According to records, the government and the KIA signed a cease-fire agreement in February, 1994, but the ongoing armed conflict between the army and KIA started in June last year, when fighting broke out after a 17-year cease-fire agreement collapsed.
Fighting between the government troops and KIA occurred 2,400 times from June, 2011 to December, 2012, and despite union-level peace talks last year, the armed clashes did not stop.
After the army launched air offensives against the KIA at the end of December, the civil society – including the 88 Generation Students Group and prominent figures from various sectors – called for a halt to the armed conflict.
The government announced yesterday that it would continue peace negotiations with KIO/KIA.
The number of internal displaced persons has increased to 160,000 by December amid the escalating clashes.