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Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)—Founded on February 5, 1961 by Zau Seng and his brothers Zau Tu and Zau Dan along with hundreds of Kachin youth in northern Shan State. The first operation was to attack a military base near Kutkhai, northern Shan State. In early 1961, the KIO shifted to Bamaw area in Kachin State from which they launched their operations.

In 1968 the KIO entered an agreement with the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) to combine forces. The KIO also gave military training to ethnic armed groups such as the Palaung and Rakhine insurgents and gave access and passage rights through areas controlled by them to Naga and Mizo insurgents from India.

In 1975 after the assassination of KIO leaders Zau Seng, Zau Tu and Pung Shwe Zau Seng in Thai-Burma border, Brang Seng took over as KIO Chairman and appointed Zaung Hkra as Secretary of the KIO. The KIO had been a fully fledged member of the National Democratic Front (NDF), an ethnic army alliance.

On February 24, 1994, the KIO entered a ceasefire agreement with the State Law and Order Restoration Council. Previously, the KIO did negotiate with Burmese authorities in 1963 and 1980, but without success. Zau Mai became a new leader of the KIO after former leader Brang Seng died just a couple months after the ceasefire.

In February 2001, Zau Mai was ousted and placed under detention by a reformist faction within its own organization that staged a coup at the KIO headquarters at Lai Sin near the China border. Since the coup, Lamung Tu Jai has been the leader of the KIO.


Kachin Defense Army (KDA)
—An armed organization founded in 1990 by Mahtu Naw, commander of the Kachin Independence Army’s 4th brigade based in northern Shan State. After the breakaway from its mother organization, KDA signed a ceasefire agreement with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council in the same year. The area controlled by KDA is now called Shan State Special Region 5.


New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K)—Founded by former KIO officers Zahkung Tingying and Layawk Zelum. NDA-K is the first Kachin group to reach a ceasefire agreement with the State Law and Order Restoration Council, in 1989, after the collapse of the CPB the same year. The organization is based in Pang Wa, former headquarters of the CPB’s 101 War Zone, situated on the Sino-Burma border. The area controlled by the group is called Kachin State Special Region 1.


Kachin State National Congress for Democracy (KNCD)—A political party founded in Myitkyina by Kachin politicians led by Ubyit Tu, former State Council member of Ne Win’s socialist BSPP government. The party won three seats in Kachin State in the 1990 general election. Leading party members were arrested and the party was barred from political activities after the election. The KNCD, led by Gumgrawng Zau Ing and Bawm Lang, became a member of the United Nationalities Alliances (UNA), led by Khun Tun Oo, chairman of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.


Kachin People’s Party (KPP)—Founded on April 17, 2002 in Thailand by young Kachin inside and outside of Kachin State to lay the foundation for an “appropriate and meaningful democratic nation” which is essential to Kachin people and to resist all forms of dictatorship and despotic rule. The KPP leader is Gumgrawng Aung Wa.


Kachin National Organization (KNO)—A political organization founded by overseas Kachin and a group of elders from the Kachin homeland on January 9, 1999. KNO strives for an independent homeland and democratic government. Its leader is Bawmwang La Raw.


All Kachin Student and Youth Union (AKSYU)—Founded on August 5, 1996 by exiled Kachin Student in India. The same year, AKSYU became a member organization of the Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB), an opposition student and youth alliance.

AKSYU branched out to open offices in Thailand in 1998, Europe in February 2002 and China in Septemeber 2002. The all Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU) is currently a member organization of the Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB), United Nationalities Youth League (UNYL), and United Nationalities’ Democratic Congress (UNDC).


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