PEACE PROCESS, LOST IN THE JUNGLE (Color)

* Note : The photo essay below is extending and color version of the one in black and white under the same title posted earlier. It is a part of my Burma Project, for which South Korea’s Rhee Yeung Hui Foundation has granted.    

** To watch a slideshow click here.

All rights reserved © Lee Yu Kyung  

Last Monday on June 9, Kachin communities all over the world marked 3rd anniversary of the renewed conflict between Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese government troops. Despite several rounds of talks between the warring parties, the ground situation in Kachin state has not been improved. Thousands of soldiers from both sides have been killed for the past 3 years and more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Of them some 75,000 have taken shelters in the area controlled by the rebel group Kachin Independence Organization (or KIO). International humanitarian organizations have little access to this area due to restriction imposed by the government, while local NGOs and IDPs and Refugee Relief Committee or IRRC – the KIO’s aid wing – have been tirelessly coping with the situation.

During my journey in Kachin state starting from end of October 2013 for nearly a month, the fighting in Southern part of Kachin State has been on and off but continued. It has been mainly prompted by government troops’ intrusion or fire on KIA post, villages and even IDPs camp and school. Battles have been lasting till today. In fact, it has been extended to Northern Shan State, where KIA’s 4th brigade positioned along with Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the military wing of Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) are positioned and engaged in fighting against the government troops. And a recent report has suggested that Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA, Ko Kang) also has involved in fighting against Burmese army. Accordingly much talked of ‘nationwide ceasefire’  has been slowly disappearing from reports.

Nkhong Pa camp at the Kachin-China border. Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly been reached. IDPs and Refugee Relief Committee (or IRRC), the aid wing of Kachin Independent Organization (or KIO) and Kachin NGOs played a significant role. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Nkhong Pa IDPs camp at the Kachin-China border. Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly reached. IDPs and Refugee Relief Committee (or IRRC), the aid wing of Kachin Independent Organization and Kachin NGOs play significant roles. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Nkhong Pa camp at the Kachin-China border, which is located between Maijayang and Laiza. The both cities are controlled by rebel group, Kachin Independent Organization (or KIO) (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Nkhong Pa IDPs camp at the Kachin-China border, which is located between Maijayang and Laiza. The both cities are controlled by Kachin Independent Organization (or KIO) (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin IDPs harvest vegetables in organic farm near Nkhong Pa camp. BRIDGE, the Kachin NGO based in Maijayang has initiated the farm for sustainability for IDPs. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin IDPs harvest vegetables in organic farm near Nkhong Pa camp. BRIDGE, the Kachin NGO based in Maijayang has initiated the organic farm project for IDPs’ sustainable livelihood. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin IDP boy cut wood for fire.  Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

A Kachin IDP boy is cutting wood. Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

An old Kachin woman in one of the IDPs camps in Laiza, the rebel’s capital near the Kachin-China border. Many of Kachin IDPs have been displaced multiple times since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011.   (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

An old Kachin woman in one of the IDPs camps in Laiza, the rebel’s capital near the Kachin-China border. Many of Kachin IDPs have been displaced multiple times since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin IDP boy sets a fire in communal kitchen in one of the IDPs camp in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly been reached. Most of IDPs are women, children and elderly. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

A Kachin boy makes a fire in communal kitchen in one of the IDPs camp in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. Since the war broke out in Kachin state in 2011, more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly reached. Most of IDPs are women, children and elderly. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin women in IDPs camp in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the war broke out in 2011. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin women in IDPs camp in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the war broke out in 2011. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

IDPs family is having dinner. The man in the picture on the wall is father of the children. He was killed in the battle field with government troops. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

IDPs family is having dinner. The man in the picture on the wall is father of the children. He was killed in the battle field. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Household in communal kitchen in one of the IDPs camps in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the war broke out Kachin state in 2011.  Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly been reached. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Household in communal kitchen in one of the IDPs camps in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the war broke out Kachin state in 2011. Of them some 75,000 have been sheltered in the rebel territory, where international aid has hardly reached. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Baptist church in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Baptist church in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

A woman tailor is making Kachin Independence Army or KIA’s uniform in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. KIA is military wing of Kachin Independence Organization (or KIO) which has been fighting for greater autonomy since 1961. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

A woman tailor is making KIA’s uniform in Laiza, the rebel’s capital. KIA is military wing of Kachin Independence Organization (or KIO) which has been fighting for greater autonomy since 1961. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Lisu woman is trying to sell jade to Chinese men in Laiza. The one she’s holding up costs 1,000 CNY ($160 USD). Jade is one of affluent natural resources in Kachin state, which are said to be partly factor of the ongoing conflict.  (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Lisu woman is trying to sell jade to Chinese men in Laiza. The one she’s holding up costs 1,000 CNY ($160 USD). Jade is one of abundant natural resources in Kachin state, which are said to be partly a factor of the ongoing conflict. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The stream borders China and Kachin state, northern Burma. It’s easy to cross from one to the other through this stream, which factor has stimulated human trafficking from Kachin to China.  (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The stream borders China and Kachin state, northern Burma. It’s easy to cross from one to the other through the stream, which has stimulated human trafficking from war-torn Kachin state to China. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Nja Kaw (name changed) is victim of human trafficking. She is HIV+ and abandoned in China before being handed over to Kachin Independence Organization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Nja Kaw (name changed) is victim of human trafficking. She is HIV+ and abandoned in China before being handed over to Kachin Independence Organization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Maternity Ward in Laiza hospital run by Kachin Independence Organization (or KIO). Health care is free but food for patient. No patient wears hospital robes. Multiples displacement has caused depression among IDPs according to hospital authority. Yet there’s no specialist for depression. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Maternity Ward in Laiza hospital run by KIO. Health care is free but food for patient. No patient wears hospital robes. Multiples displacement has caused depression among IDPs according to hospital authority. Yet there’s no specialist dealing with depression. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Gold mining site near Laiza, the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. Abundant natural resources such as gold, timber and jade in Kachin state have been exploited mostly by Chinese companies. Both Burmese government and KIO are beneficiary of the natural resources, which is significant portion of financial source of the war. It is also argued that the control over natural resources is partly attributed to the ongoing war. (Photo  © Lee Yu Kyung)

Gold mining site near Laiza, the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. Abundant natural resources such as gold, timber and jade in Kachin state have been exploited mainly by Chinese companies. Both Burmese government and KIO too are beneficiary of the exploitation, which is said to be significant portion of financial source for the war. It is also argued that the control over natural resources is attributed to the ongoing war. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Ethnic Armed Organization Conference was held late last year in Laiza at the China-Kachin border. It was organized by Kachin Independence Organization in a bid to discuss common strategy among ethnic groups for ‘nationwide ceasefire’ which Burmese government ambitiously has been pushing for months by then. KIO is one of the two ethnic groups which have not signed ceasefire with Burmese government as of June 2014. (Photo  © Lee Yu Kyung)

Ethnic Armed Organization Conference was held late last year in Laiza at the China-Kachin border. It was organized by Kachin Independence Organization in a bid to discuss common strategy among ethnic groups regarding ‘nationwide ceasefire’ which Burmese government ambitiously has been pushing for months by then. KIO is one of the two ethnic groups which have not signed ceasefire with Burmese government as of June 2014. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Gen. Mutu Say Poe, chairperson of Karen National Union has come out from the Ethnic conference in Laiza late 2013. (Photo  © Lee Yu Kyung)

Gen. Mutu Say Poe, chairperson of Karen National Union has come out from the conference room in Laiza late 2013. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Last November 2013, ethnic armed groups signed the 11 points agreement regarding ‘nationwide ceasefire’ that Burmese government has been pushing for. The 11 points has included ‘Federal Army’  while the government abhorred the word of ‘federal’. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Last November 2013, ethnic armed groups signed the 11 points agreement regarding common position regarding ‘nationwide ceasefire’ that Burmese government has been pushing for. The 11 points has included ‘Federal Army’ while the government abhorred the word of ‘federal’. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin youths in Education and Economy of Development for Youth (or EEDY) training session. The Course involves military training with gun made of wood Kachin history and English etc. After training everyone goes back to ordinary life. However, Kahin youths all over the country have tried to reach their home land to take EEDY course. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin youths in Educational and Economic Development for Youth (or EEDY) training ground. The Course involves military training with wood gun, Kachin history and English etc. After training, most of them would go back to their normal life different parts of the country. Since the war resumed, Kachin youths from all over the country have tried to reach their home land to take EEDY course. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin youths in Education and Economy of Development for Youth (or EEDY) training session. The Course involves military training with gun made of wood Kachin history and English etc. After training everyone goes back to ordinary life. However, Kahin youths all over the country have tried to reach their home land to take EEDY course. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin youths in Educational and Economic Development for Youth (or EEDY) training ground. The Course involves military training with wood gun, Kachin history and English etc. After training, most of them would go back to their ordinary life in different parts of the country. Kachin youths all over the country have tried to reach their home land to take EEDY course. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers near Laiza. Kachin Independence Army is military wing of Kachine Independence Organization which has been fighting for great autonomy since 1961. KIA has been engaging in battle with government troops since 2011 June as 14 years old ceasefire agreement broke down. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers near Laiza. Kachin Independence Army is military wing of Kachine Independence Organization which has been fighting for great autonomy since 1961. KIA has been engaging in battle against government troops since 2011 June as 14 years old ceasefire agreement broke down. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers near Laiza, the rebel’s capital are waiting for Ethnic representatives who were coming from Myitkyna to attend Ethnic Armed Organization Conference late 2013. Kachin Independence Army is military wing of Kachine Independence Organization which has been fighting for great autonomy since 1961. KIA has been engaging in battle with government troops since 2011 June as 14 years old ceasefire agreement broke down. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers near Laiza- the rebel’s capital- are waiting for Ethnic representatives who were coming from Myitkyna – the capital of the state controlled by government- to attend Ethnic Armed Organization Conference late 2013. Kachin Independence Army is military wing of Kachine Independence Organization which has been fighting for great autonomy since 1961. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA solider at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza - the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA solider at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza – the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA solider at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza - the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza – the rebel’s capital in Kachin state. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Lakiza, prepare lunch.  (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers at the Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Lakiza, prepare lunch. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Trenches are easily found in Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza. The Lajayang frontline was fallen to government troops early 2013, Kachin Independence Army – military wing of Kachin Independence Organization- has retreated to Lawayang where they have reorganized frontline to continue their fight. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Trenches are easily found in Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza. After the Lajayang frontline was fallen to government troops early 2013, KIA has retreated to Lawayang where they reorganized frontline and continue to fight. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza, were reading materials on military while relax. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soldiers Lawayang frontline, 8 km off from Laiza, were reading materials on military affairs while relax. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Cadres of ABSDF Northern Branch (ABSDF-NB) in Kachin state. ABSDF has celebrated 25th anniversary in 2013. It has signed a ceasefire with the government. KIA accommodates a few other armed groups in Kachin state with whom they wage joint-operation against the government troops at times. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Cadres of ABSDF Northern Branch (ABSDF-NB) in Kachin state. ABSDF has celebrated 25th anniversary in 2013. It has signed a ceasefire with the government months earlier. KIA accommodates a few other armed groups in Kachin state with whom they wage joint-operation against the government troops at times. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

An ABSDF cadre sees pictures exhibited in the occasion of its 25th anniversary in Kachin State. . It has signed a ceasefire with the government. KIA accommodates a few other armed groups in Kachin state with whom they wage joint-operation against the government troops at times. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

An ABSDF cadre sees pictures exhibited in the occasion of its 25th anniversary in Kachin State. ABSDF has signed a ceasefire with the government. KIA accommodates a few other armed groups in Kachin state with whom they wage joint-operation against the government troops at times. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The Headquarter of Arakan Army (or AA) in Kachin state. The new and young rebel army was founded in 2009 after receiving military training from Kachin Army. It is composed mainly Rakhine Buddhist from Arakan State, where ethno-religious violence has been witnessed in recent years. Cadres of Arakan army are not shy to say they are fighting against Islamization as well as Burmanization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The Headquarter of Arakan Army (or AA) in Kachin state. The new and young rebel army was founded in 2009 after receiving military training from Kachin Army. It is composed mainly Rakhine Buddhist from Arakan State, where ethno-religious violence has been witnessed in recent years. Cadres of Arakan army are not shy to say they are fighting against Islamization as well as Burmanization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Arakan Army medic injects his sick comrade in the camp. The new and young rebel army was founded in 2009 after receiving military training from Kachin Army. Cadres of Arakan army are not shy to say they are fighting against Islamization as well as Burmanization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Arakan Army medic injects his ailing comrade in the camp. The new and young rebel army was founded in 2009 after receiving military training from Kachin Army. Cadres of Arakan army are not shy to say they are fighting against Islamization as well as Burmanization. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders are moving to Ma-seng-bum in Lawayang frontline. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders are moving to Ma-seng-bum in Lawayang frontline. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders are moving to Ma-seng-bum in Lawayang frontline. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. (Photo© Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders are moving to Ma-seng-bum in Lawayang frontline. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. (Photo© Lee Yu Kyung)

Soldiers in Ma-seng-bum camp in Lawayang frontline prepares morning tea. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. Kachin soldiers in the camp has claimed that twice provocative fire from government troops have took place after the all out battle in January 2013 has stopped. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Soldiers in Ma-seng-bum camp in Lawayang frontline prepares morning tea. The location of Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. Kachin soldiers in the camp has claimed that provocative shots have been fired from nearby government troops twice after the all out battle in the area last January 2013 has stopped. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA Soldiers in Ma-seng-bum camp in Lawayang frontline. Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. Kachin soldiers in the camp has claimed that twice provocative fire from government troops have took place after the all out battle in January 2013 has stopped. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA Soldiers in Ma-seng-bum camp in Lawayang frontline. Ma-seng-bum is 5 minutes away from the government troops’ camp on foot. Kachin soldiers in the camp has claimed that provocative shots have been fired from nearby government troops after the all out battle in the area last January 2013 has stopped. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders cross broken wood bridge in Lawayang frontline. After Lajayang frontline was fallen to government troops early 2013, Kachin Independence Army – military wing of Kachin Independence Organization- has retreated to Lawayang, where they have reorganized frontline to continue their fight. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

KIA soliders cross broken wood bridge in Lawayang frontline. After Lajayang frontline was fallen to government troops early 2013, KIA has retreated to Lawayang, where they reorganized frontline to continue their fight. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

IDPs in Latgayang camp are building temporary shelters for then fleeing IDPs from Nam Lim Pa, which was infiltrated by government troops followed by battle between KIA and government troops late November in 2013. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

IDPs in Lagayang camp are building temporary shelters for then fleeing IDPs from Nam Lim Pa, which was intruded by government troops. After intrusion KIA and government troops were engaged in fierce battle late November in 2013. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

On November 18, 2013 meanwhile I found myself somewhere in jungle of Mansi Township, southern part of Kachin State. Mansi, along with Bhamo, has been the clashing point between Kachin Independence Army (or KIA) and the government troops in recent.  I have caught up with about hundreds out of thousands of IDPs who were then fleeing from Nam Lim Pa, where heavy fighting broke out a day earlier. The fighting was a consecutive event of government troops’ intrusion into the Nam Lim Pa village, the IDPs camp and even the boarding school on November 16.

Thousands of Kachin IDPs were fleeing Nam Lim Pa, Mansi township by various means, including motorcycle as government troops have intruded into their village and IDPs on November 16. Subsequently heavy fighting between KIA and government troops broke out around 7am on November 17. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Thousands of Kachin IDPs were fleeing Nam Lim Pa, Mansi township by various means, including motorcycle as government troops have intruded into their village and IDPs on November 16. Subsequently heavy fighting between KIA and government troops broke out around 7am on November 17. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Thousands of Kachin IDPs were fleeing Nam Lim Pa, Mansi township as government troops have intruded into their village and IDPs on November 16. Subsequently heavy fighting between KIA and government troops broke out around 7am on November 17. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Thousands of Kachin IDPs were fleeing Nam Lim Pa, Mansi township as government troops have intruded into their village and IDPs on November 16. Subsequently heavy fighting between KIA and government troops broke out around 7am on November 17. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Having trekked through the jungle for two days, the IDPs have met trucks organized by local NGOs, which have tirelessly coped with floods of IDPs. Absolute majority of them were children and women with small number of men. Some of them were old IDPs from Mung Ding Pa and elsewhere, where fighting took place late October.

Black smog and dust have caused severe headache dizziness and suffocation. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Black smog and dust generated from rickety truck have caused severe headache dizziness and suffocation. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

I got onto one of the trucks to travel with them for 7 hours to Gong-Yu-Yang village, the first stop for them to eat and sleep arranged by local NGOs before heading to Lagayang IDPs camp.

An IDP child firmly holds rope which are attached to the truck for safety purpose as the truck doesn’t have enclosing walls. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

An IDP child firmly holds rope which are attached to the truck for safety purpose as the truck doesn’t have enclosing walls. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Fleeing IDPs had first trekked through the jungle for two days until they have met trucks or motorcycles organized by local NGOs. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Fleeing IDPs had first trekked through the jungle for two days until they have met trucks or motorcycles organized by local NGOs. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The cliffy bumping road was not suitable at all for driving any transport, let alone truck. After I’ve jumped onto the truck, I was soon to realize how terrible their journey must have been. Black smog and dust generated from rickety truck were terrible enough to suffocate anyone. Eyes of many children already got bloodshot. Yet, it was a tip of the iceberg of their whole set of sufferings for decades. The latest fighting and floods of thousands IDPs have coincided with KIA’s second in command Gen. Sumlut Gun Maw’s Rangoon speech, which was followed by another ‘talk’ in Chiang Mai organized by Myanmar Peace Center (or MPC).

The fleeing Kachin IDPs by a rickety truck bumping along a cliffyside dirt road (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

The fleeing Kachin IDPs by a rickety truck bumping along a cliffyside dirt road (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

I was overwhelmed with ‘endless’ stories and responds by villagers in Mansi township and elsewhere about atrocities committed by government forces against them regardless of ceasefire, non-ceasefire or ‘peace process’. Unless these atrocities be constrained, the current Peace Process is to be lost in the jungle, while nation-wide ceasefire would be pushed away from the sight.

Kachin IDPs from Nam Lim Pa were warmly received by villagers and NGOs, who have been preparing IDPs’ shelter and provided them with food. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

Kachin IDPs from Nam Lim Pa were warmly received by villagers and NGOs, who have been preparing IDPs’ shelter and provided them with food. (Photo © Lee Yu Kyung)

 

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