In response to my earlier post that mentioned northern Burma’s Rawang Rebellion Resistance Force (RRF), a long-time New Mandala reader has sent some important background information:
The Rawang were the only major tribe to not join the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)/Kachin Independence Army (KIA), although there have been individual Rawangs involved with both groups. This is largely due to inept organizing by the KIO. The KIO got caught up in a local conflict between some of the Lisus in Putao area and the Rawangs. This touched off a civil war in the 1960s, that based on the numbers I’ve seen, potentially could amount to 7,000 individuals killed. Given the population involved, this is a large number, and there is still plenty of residual animosity between the Rawangs (and some Lisus) and the Jinghpaw (and some other Lisus), which the regime is apparently eager to exploit. Some of the earlier Kachin News Group’s reports noted that Lisus were also being recruited to the Rebellion Resistance Force, and I would assume these are from groups traditionally allied with the Rawang.
It also appears that while this militia is recruited from the Rawangs (and Lisus) from around Putao, the area where they appear to be based, and given access to economic resources, is an area largely inhabited by Maru, Lashi, and Atsi. If that is the case, then the military regime may very well be trying to foment even further divisions between the various Kachin groups. Also, the transport of the Rebellion Resistance Force to central Burma may be a further attempt to foster divisions among ethnic groups, since if they are used against the largely Burman population, you would have yet another example of the regime setting different groups against each other in an attempt to “divide and rule”. The cruel irony here is that the military has always pushed the line that the British imperialists deliberately set the different ethnic groups against each other.