Kachin, the army threatens Christian leaders: 'Stop communicating with the rebels'
Fr Peter Hka Aung Tu: "We are not encouraging the rebels to kill people. We pray for them to sit down for peace talks ". All organizations providing aid to over 60 thousand displaced persons in rebel areas will now have to seek permission from the government.
Myitkyina (AsiaNews) - The commander in chief of the Burmese troops of the North has ordered Christian religious leaders to stop communications with the rebels of the Kachin Independence Army (Kia - photo). And if they do not respect the provisions, they risk the penal consequences foreseen by the violation of art. 17 (1). The armed group is the ethnic army of the Kachin minority, which has a large Christian component, 40% Catholics and Baptists for 60%.
The President of the Council of Christian Churches of Myitkyina, Fr. Peter Hka Aung Tu, declares to the Catholic Office for Social Communication: "The commitment of the Christian communities that maintain relations with the Kia is only linked to prayer activities. We Christians have a duty to pray for them. We are not encouraging Kia to kill people. We pray for them to sit down at the peace talks ".
According to Fr. Aung Tu, the rebels "represent the ethnic identity of Kachin" and for decades have been engaged in a struggle for freedom and justice. "There are kachin who have taken up arms, but many others abstain from fighting. The population is linked by strong tribal ties and the law cited by military leaders is not adequate. Every kachin has in fact some relatives among the ranks of the Kia ", says the priest.
The central government representatives announced yesterday that all organizations providing humanitarian assistance to IDPs in Kia-controlled areas will now have to request permission from the authorities. The provision is seen by many operators in the sector as a restriction on aid. On 9 June, the civil war in the northern state entered its seventh year. Of the more than 100,000 IDPs in Kachin and the northern Shan region, more than 60,000 are in areas controlled by the rebel army.