Monday, September 25, 2017

Red Shan in Kachin State hold second militia training

A Red Shan village in Kachin State has held its second graduation ceremony for a militia training program.

Tar Law Gyi‘s second militia course started on January 5 and ended on February 9, with 329 participants, militia leader U San Wai said. The militia was formed to protect the village from both Tatmadaw and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers.

“The [Tatmadaw’s] 37th Infantry Division organised the graduation party of the second militia course. The Shan nationalities minister for Kachin State couldn’t attend the ceremony because [UN human rights envoy Tomas] Quintana was visiting Kachin State but gave us a formal message,” U San Wai said.

About 200 trainees attended the first training program in May 2012, after which the village’s militia was formed. He said more courses would be held, and women might be allowed to participate in the third training.

Tar Law Gyi has about 1000 households and is 35 kilometres from Myitkyina on the bank of the Ayeyarwady River. U San Wai said residents faced a constant threat of extortion and forced recruitment.

“Although there were peace talks in Shweli on February 4 the next day one of our villagers, Si Maung, was forcibly recruited by the KIA when he was looking for orchids. Four other villagers who were with him managed to escape,” U San Wai said.