THE Burmese government has admitted that it has carried out air
strikes against rebels in the predominantly Christian northern
Kachin State. The United States has expressed serious concerns
about the air strikes.
The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, called on the government
of Burma to "desist from any action that could endanger the lives
of civilians". A spokesman for the Kachin Relief Fund, in the UK,
said that air raids had been carried out almost daily since
Christmas, and civilians had been frequently caught in the
crossfire. Supporters were planning to demonstrate against the air
strikes outside the Burmese embassy in London yesterday (10 January
is Kachin State Day).
An estimated 75,000 civilians have been displaced by the
conflict between the Kachin Independence Army and the military.
Although Burma has made huge strides in democracy and reform in
recent years, many aid agencies have urged the international
community to proceed with caution in its relations with the Burmese
The President of Burma, Thein Sein, said that the air strikes
were acts of self-defence after rebels blocked transport
The Burmese opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi was reported by
Agence France-Presse to have said that it was up to the government
to solve the situation in Kachin. She would not step in to work for
peace in the conflict, she said, without government approval.
The fight against the Independence Army in Kachin State resumed
in 2011 after a 17-year truce.