Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese authorities are distributing propaganda letters, saying the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) is causing the deaths of many civilian deaths through the planting of land mines.
Since March 5, the authorities have circulated the propaganda letters to restaurants and other locations along the Myitkyina-Laiza Road, according to local residents,
The letters, which include photographs of landmine victims, have been distributed in Waimaw, Ga Ra Yang, Nam Sang Yang, Laja Yang and Sadung in Kachin State.
Some of the letters are written in the Kachin language. ‘But, they don’t know the language very well’, one resident told Mizzima. ‘There are many mistakes’.
Military intelligence officers from the Northern Command and local police ordered shop owners, especially the owners of tea shops, noodle shops and bicycle repair shops, to distribute at least 50 letters among customers, according to a shop owner in Nam Sang Yang.
‘They said that it was the order of Northern Command, so I put the letters on a table. Anybody could take the letters’, he said.
The letter said, in part: ‘The KIO obtains money from civilians by extortion. Why does they (KIO) give people trouble?, their actions are cruel and selfish’, and, ‘The KIO is all talk. Although they say they are doing good things for the sake of the Kachin people, their actions say the opposite. It’s time to question what the KIO does for the welfare of Kachin people’.
The letters were also distributed in some wards in Myitkyina, according to residents.
A KIO officer in Laiza told Mizzima that the KIO has not responded to the letter, and that the people would not lose trust in the organization.
‘It’s similar to the propaganda of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP). At that time, the BSPP made anti-KIO propaganda when the KIO and the government were fighting. But, the Kachin people’s feelings for the KIO will not change. The authorities actions are very childish’, the officer said.
The KIO rejected the junta’s order in September 2010 to transform its troops into the Border Guard Force, causing increased tension between the junta and KIO.
On February 25, 10 remote-controlled mines, made from TNT gunpowder, were discovered outside the customs office in Loi Je Township in Bhamo District in Kachin State.
Lieutenant Colonel Thet Pone of the junta’s Northern Military Command Military Affairs Security (MAS) unit alleged that the mines were planted by the KIO and threatened the KIO, saying the regime would launch a major military offensive against it if it did not stop provoking the regime.
In October, two people died and one was injured after they stepped on a mine while climbing Nwalabo Hill in the Pinball Village tract of Mogaung Township in Kachin State. The junta said that the mine was planted by the KIO and state-run newspapers used the word “insurgents” to describe the KIO.