For some time now, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the last remaining “ceasefire” army in the Kachin State, has been preparing for potential hostilities with the Burmese government. The immediate trigger for KIA preparations is the Burmese government’s effort to force their transformation into a Border Guard Force. Of course, there are other, long-standing, reasons for increasing KIA battle readiness.

A few New Mandala readers have made sure that we don’t neglect to mention a recent report from the BBC’s Alastair Leithead. He has been up to Laiza, right on the Sino-Burmese border, to inspect the Kachin preparations. If that report leaves you hungry for more, arguably the best daily source of news on all matters Kachin is this one.