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Inside Free Kachin Part II

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KIA recruits pledge to always remember the martyrs who gave their lives for the nation and people.

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The KIA flag is two crossed Kachin swords on a red background. The Kachin national flag is half red and half green.

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A young soldier mourns a founder of the KIA.

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Raising the national flag at dawn.

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A lieutenant points out an active SPDC ( Burmese military junta) outpost within rifle distance.

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The 1994 ceasefire stopped a bloody and brutal conflict, but there has been no attempt at genuine reconciliation. Effectively, the war is on pause, and most Kachins expect another outbreak of fighting in the near future.

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Kachin youth are patriotic and many are active in the independence struggle as soldiers, teachers and organizers.

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Spirits are high among soldiers taking a break in the canteen.

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KIA soldiers say grace before every meal.

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The Reverend Ja Gun tells us in a booming voice of the religious and political history of the Kachins.

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This church is modest, like most things in Kachin. 90% of Kachins are practicing Christians.

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KIA soldiers warm themselves around a coal fire on cold night at Laisin.

In the north of Myanmar the Kachin people have been struggling for autonomy for generations.

The KIA (Kachin Independence Army) fought an armed insurgency for over 30 years. Despite being out-numbered and out-armed, the KIA was never fully defeated. Nor were they able to win full autonomy for the Kachin People. During 15 years of precarious peace since the 1994 cease-fire, the KIO ( Kachin Independence Organization) has been trying to build up a civil society in addition to the army. This photo essay explores the current state of affairs in free Kachin and the activities of the KIA / KIO.