Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

My portfolio: Ryan Libre

Kachin recruits start practicing martial arts before sunrise.

BBC News website reader Ryan Libre shares his experiences of time spent with the Kachin Independence Army, the military wing of the separatist Kachin Independence Organisation in northernmost Burma.

Recruits study in a classroom

"Recruits not only learn skills for soldiering but are also taught about the history and traditional culture of the Kachin" - an ethnic group in Burma.

A soldier warms his hands by a fire

"The former Kachin Independence Army headquarters is in the Himalayan foothills. Frost covers the landscape and most soldiers endure the freezing nights in bamboo huts."

A soldier stands in a jungle location

"The KIA is outnumbered and out-gunned by the Burmese military."

A KIA brigade commander

"The red in the flag represents the sacrifices of those killed in the struggle for freedom, while the green represents the natural beauty of the Kachin homeland."

, Kachin

"Much of the Kachin Independence Organisation budget goes to the military, but they are also supporting social services like this boarding school for poor children."

A recruit reads a Human Rights Watch publication

"The KIO encourages free access to international media, including Human Rights Watch reports."

A soldier stands in a camp

"The 1994 ceasefire between the KIA and the Burmese military stopped a brutal conflict. The war is on pause, but most Kachins expect more fighting in the near future."

A soldier stands near a grave side

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