Airstrikes, Ground Fighting Continue Near Laiza

Kachin rebel soldiers wait outside Laiza Hospital morgue where a funeral service for a killed fellow fighter was being held on Monday. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

Kachin rebel soldiers wait outside Laiza Hospital morgue where a funeral service for a killed fellow fighter was being held on Monday. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

The Burmese government and Kachin rebels were engaged in pitched ground battles over key positions in the mountains around Laiza on Tuesday, while the army also launched airstrikes in the area, according to a rebel commander.

Further north in Kachin State, three children died in a displaced civilians’ camp on Tuesday after the underground bunker they were playing in collapsed, an aid worker said.

Government troops attacked two rebel-held hilltop posts, Kha Rha hill and Lim Bum hill, on Tuesday afternoon, said Min Htay, a major in the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, which fights alongside the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

“We’ve been fighting with the government troops today,” he told The Irrawaddy by telephone. “The government troops launched a ground attack on Kha Ra hill post, but we fired back.”

He said in the course of the fighting the Burmese army called in airstrikes to hit the two positions, which are located less than 10 kilometers northwest of Laiza, a town on the Burma-China border where the KIA have their headquarters.

“On Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 pm, two fighter jets dropped bombs at the Kha Ra hill post and Lim Bum hill post,” Maj Min Htay said, adding that fighting was continuing late afternoon on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, government troops have seized at least two KIA hilltop posts in the area, point 771 and Phun Pyan Bum hill.

Residents of Laiza said that on Monday night the Burmese army had again fired artillery strikes at central Laiza’s Phar Kyan Kyawt quarter, where earlier that day shelling had killed three civilians and injured four.

“There were two artillery strikes around 10:45 pm last night,” said a Laiza resident, who preferred not to be named. “We were so worried about our safety.”

Monday night’s strike did not injure anyone, as the quarter had been evacuated following the attacks earlier that day.

Two seriously injured victims of the first artillery attacks—a 10-year-old girl and an adult woman, who were both wounded in the lower part of their body— have been brought to China’s Yunnan Province for further treatment, the Laiza resident said.

Also on Tuesday, four young boys who were playing in a makeshift underground bunker were buried when a mud slide caused the bunker to collapse, said Mary Tawn, an aid worker with Wun Tawng Ningtwey (Light of the Kachin People).

Three of the boys, aged between 11 and 13 years, died in the tragic accident in Barka Htaunt camp for internally displaced villagers. “Only one out of four children playing there could make it alive. It all happened within about 30 minutes,” she said. “We lost sight of those children while they were playing during lunchtime.”

Mary Tawn said the makeshift bunkers were hazardous for little children but had to be dug as the fighting was getting closer to the camps. “As more air strikes and shelling are happening near the camps, we have to dig more bunkers,” she said.

Wun Tawng Ningtwey assists about 10,000 villagers in six camps in northern Kachin State by providing food, shelter and education for the children, Mary Tawn said, adding that the group had just opened a primary school in Barka Htaunt camp, which is located near Mai Ja Yang, several hundred kilometer north of Laiza,

An estimated 100,000 Kachin villagers have been displaced since the fighting in Kachin State began in June 2011, when a 17-year-old cease-fire between Kachin rebels and the government broke down.

4 Responses to Airstrikes, Ground Fighting Continue Near Laiza

  1. All members of the UNFC should suspend the dry talk with the military-led regime and join rather the KIA in fighting against the barbaric army, which has too much blood of innocent people in its hands and which would also turn its guns in due course against those who now hold talks with it, apparently meaning that the heartless army of course plans to eliminate all ethnic armed armies one after another.

    Suu Kyi, who never deserve being compared to Gandhi and Martin L. King, now becomes part of the problem rather than part of the solution to the problem, and she now enjoys being with those who are held responsible for the brutalization, persecution, and genocide against the Kachin and other ethnic groups.

    There are more than 50,000 brave men and women in uniform in the ethnic armies, and the history of fighting in the past 60 years has clearly proved that the barbaric army of Burma has been unable to crush the soul and strength of the ethnic armed armies, who shall never leave the fate and future of their people in the hands of the Burman army.

    The KIA wants peace, which must necessarily include the absence of war and the presence of equality, federalism, and self-determination, whereas Thein Sein-led regime wants peace, which includes the absence of war only, resulted in the escalation of merciless war fought between the barbaric army and the KIA.

    It is realistic and practical that the talks with other ethnic armed groups will sooner or later come to an end, and the war will inevitably resume as the fighting in the Kachinland proves it. The resumption of fighting in the north sends a clear message to all other armed groups that they shall face the same fate sooner or later as the regimes never keep its promise in the past and even now.

  2. It is more and more clear the reform is only the window dressing to woo the international investment and break out the isolation ,nothing more.MR ;PRESIDENT, SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR ADMINISTRATION, DESERVE TO BE ACCESSORIES OF WAR CRIME.

  3. Our thought and prayers are with you. All ethnics feel shaken when you are bombed and gunned down by the junta. Who betrays and who is loyal to the Union will be the final judge when people wake up in history. The truth always prevails at last. Kachins are already winning in the international viewpoint.

  4. The Government of Burma must use the same model for peace negotiation. We Kachin demand the peace model government applied with the WAs, Maing Lar Groups, Karens, to which the talks were done under peaceful environment, friendly and no military pressure.
    With Kachins, the Government use military pressure and dialogue at the same time (Special model). The military intrusion and attacks usually committed by the Government troops on the days of the peace talk. The invitation for the peace talks come along with the heavy military operation. The Kachins will never talk under the gunpoint. US must urge the Government of Burma to use the same Peace model they used for other groups to Kachin, it will be absolutely OK. Kachins are waging defensive war, for now, even escaping war, no way to give trouble to the giant army and to intrude to the mainland Burma. The Government said that KIA disturb the troops travel to deliver the rations to the Government military posts, WHY they have the military posts in the KIA areas, isn’t apparent intrusion and for the purpose to ignite the war. KIA is simple, defending their land and their peoples from the brutal foreign troops.

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