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New Democratic Army – Kachin

New Democratic Army – Kachin
ကချင်ဒီမိုကရေစီသစ် တပ်မတော်
LeadersZahkung Ting Ying (a.k.a. S'Khon Tein Yein)
Layawk Zelum
Ying Zelum
Dates of operation1989 (1989) – November 2009 (2009-11)
HeadquartersPangwa, Kachin State
Active regionsKachin State, Myanmar
Myanmar-China border
IdeologyKachin nationalism
Size200–300; 700 (peak)[1]
Allies Union of Myanmar
OpponentsState opponents

Union of Myanmar (until 1989)
Non-state opponents

Kachin Independence Army[2]
Battles and warsInternal conflict in Myanmar

The New Democratic Army – Kachin (Burmese: ကချင်ဒီမိုကရေစီသစ် တပ်မတော်; abbreviated NDA-K) was an armed insurgent group that operated from 1989 until its conversion into a "border guard force" in November 2009.[1][3][4]


The NDA-K was founded in 1989 by former Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) officers Zahkung Ting Ying (a.k.a. S'Khon Tein Yein), Layawk Zelum, and Ying Zelum, when they led a communist faction of 700 soldiers that split from the KIO due to its political differences.[1][2] In the same year, the group agreed to a ceasefire with the government, and it de facto operated under the Tatmadaw's command as a "special regional task force".[1]

The group received a budget, rations, and supplies from the government. Additionally, 600 soldiers were paid by the government as part of the Myanmar Police Force.[1] In November 2009, the group became one of the first insurgent groups under a ceasefire agreement to convert into a "border guard force". Some members have since joined the Kachin State Progressive Party (KSPP) to contest in the 2010 general election.[3]

Splinter group

A Rawang leader Lauban Tanggu Dang (Ah Dang; Burmese: တန်ဂူးတန်) established the Rebellion Resistance Force from the NDA-K group.


Zahkung Ting Ying is a Ngochang from the Yunnan Frontier.[citation needed] In 1968, he split from Kachin Independence Army and joined the Communist Party if Burma and established the CPB's 101 War Zone with Zaluman, another KIA defector.[5][6] In 2016, he was expelled from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw for violating election laws while campaigning.[7]

Illegal rare-earth mining

Illegal rare earth mining has surged in NDA-K held areas bordering China following the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état.[8][9] In April 2021, 100 rare earth mines were found in the area controlled by the militia.[10] As the Chinese government cracked down on domestic rare earth mining, it has outsourced the destructive mining to Kachin State.[11] As of March 2022, 2,700 mining collection pools scattered across 300 separate locations were found in Kachin State, encompassing the area of Singapore, and an exponential increase from 2016.[11] Zakhung Ting Ying and other militia leaders have profited from this extractive industry.[11] In December 2021, US$200 million in rare earths were exported to China.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mizzimia Archive – NDA-K". Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b NDA-K's Ting Ying declares Burma army will wipeout KIA
  3. ^ a b Global Security – Kachin
  4. ^ Asian Correspondent – NDA-K: Burma needs to value peace talks in Kachin State
  5. ^ "Zawhkung Ting Ying" Jinghpaw Kasa, 2009
  6. ^ Lintner, B. The Rise and fall of the Communist party of Burma, SEAP Publications, 1990, p25
  7. ^ Nyan Hlaing Lynn,June 25, 2016,Kachin militia leader expelled from Union Parliament, Frontier.
  8. ^ "Illegal rare earth mining harms environment in Myanmar's Kachin state". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  9. ^ "Rare Earths in Myanmar: Unobtanium?". The Diplomat. 14 June 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  10. ^ "Illegal Rare Earth Mines on China Border Multiply Since Myanmar's Coup". The Irrawaddy. 26 April 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d "Myanmar's poisoned mountains". Global Witness. 9 August 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
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New Democratic Army – Kachin
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