Kachin Independent Army

Kachin Independent Army

The Kachin Independent Army (KIA) (also known as the Kachin Independence Army) is an independent army group still existing in Kachin State, particularly in the isolated Hukawng Valley, along Sino-Burma border in Northern Burma, and until 1994 at war with the various central governments in Rangoon to gain independence.

Formed February 5, 1961, it is the military force of an anti-government ethnic Kachin (also known as Jingpo) separatist movement called the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) that was formed in the same year. Despite the fact that it was ethnic rather than communist in orientation, the KIA obtained support from China in the earlier part of its existence, as relations between the Chinese and Burmese governments were at a low ebb at the time. Its strength, probably always fluctuating, has been estimated, variably, as between 4,000 and 5,000 fighters (from an estimate in the mid 1980s) to 8,000 (from an estimate in the late 1990s). During the war with the central government in Rangoon, the KIA was organized into four regional brigades.

It maintained a small base in Thailand to conduct trade with the outside world. The KIA controlled large opium producing areas and was heavily involved in its export.

In the late 1980s, the Chinese withdrew their support for the KIA, and the central government began to splinter the various ethnic-separatist groups in the Burmese opposition (which had never been particularly well-organized). In 1991, the Fourth Brigade of the KIA, on the Kachin-Shan border, splintered from the KIA and made a separate peace with the central government. The KIO leadership saw continued civil war as a dead end strategy, and engaged the central government to work out a cease-fire. In February 1994, the KIA entered into a ceasefire with the central government. Until the ceasefire, the KIA had been largely "de facto" independent in Kachin State. The KIA continues to exist after the ceasefire, although the central government's forces now occupy sectors of Kachin State.


*Chin, Kin Wah. "Defence Spending in Southeast Asia", p. 268. Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1987.
*Jongman, Albert J., and Schmid, Alex Peter. "Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories, and Literature," p. 515. Piscataway, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers (Rutgers -- The State University), 2005 (paperback ed.)
*Rotberg, Robert I., and Lustig, Nora. "Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future", p. 171. Washington, D.C., The World Peace Foundation, 1998.
*South, Ashley. "Mon Nationalism and Civil War in Burma: The Golden Sheldrake", pp. 166-167. London, RoutledgeCurzon, 2003.

External links

* [http://www.kachinstate.com/history.html Kachin's Anti-Government Forces]

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