Burma Army Offensive Continues in Kachin State

 A map with scissors marking clashes in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army in November. (Photo: Myawaddy / Facebook)

A map with scissors marking clashes in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army in November. (Photo: Myawaddy / Facebook)

RANGOON — Burma’s Armed Forces continued their offensive on Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township on Thursday, firing artillery rounds since 7 am, according to locals.

KIA spokesperson La Nan told The Irrawaddy earlier this week that Kachin forces had already abandoned three bases in the township since Saturday, after “intense” attacks launched by government troops who utilized a jet fighter, helicopter gunships and ground artillery.

Information Minister Ye Htut told The Irrawaddy on Thursday the government had no plans to call on the Burma Army to cease its offensive operations in Mohnyin, citing the need to protect public security in the area.

He said the KIA’s 8th brigade had only been based in Mohnyin for around 12 months.

“The fighting will stop if the KIA troops go back to their place,” Ye Htut said. “As the Tatmadaw is doing what they need to protect the security of the people in Mohnyin, we won’t ask them to stop.”

Thursday’s attack came exactly one year since government troops shelled a KIA training camp near the group’s headquarters in Laiza, killing 23 cadets from various ethnic armed groups.

Local religious leader and Mohnyin resident La Nan—who has the same name as the KIA spokesperson—told The Irrawaddy around 300 villagers had fled their homes on Thursday and were temporarily sheltering in his church.

In Kachin State, government troop deployments increased in Mohnyin, Putao, Sumprabum and close to Laiza and Hpakant in the lead-up to the country’s Nov. 8 general election, according to Lamai Gum Ja of the Kachin Peace Talk Creation Group, an organization involved in mediating ceasefire negotiations with the government.

Lamai Gum Ja said Burmese troops had accused the KIA of attacking the military’s Battalion No. 141, a claim the Kachin armed group denied.

Ye Htut said the recent clashes underlined the fact that the KIA did not want to be a part of the “nationwide” ceasefire agreement that was signed between Naypyidaw and eight armed groups on Oct. 15.

Several of the country’s most formidable non-state armed forces have not signed the agreement, including the Shan State Army-North which has also been subject to intensified Burma Army offensives in recent weeks.

The KIA’s La Nan told The Irrawaddy the armed group would show restraint in the face of continued Burma Army attacks.

“We want peace, and we are willing to march toward political dialogue and keep trying to proceed,” he said. “We will resist if the government army gears up its offensive. [But] after this conflict, we will not attack their battalions as revenge.”

6 Responses to Burma Army Offensive Continues in Kachin State

  1. Fresh offensives in northern Myanmar showed that Tatmadaw has no genuine interest in peace building in the country. The escalated attacks on KIA and SSA-N have Nothing to do with security of citizens who are directly suffering from loss of lives and fleeing from their homes due to the Tatmadaw’s offensives. KIA’s new bridge was to relocate and station in an empty mountain after having lost or defeated in many parts of the region by the Myanmar Army. There were no active clashes/attacks by KIA in Myonyin area over the past five months. It is the dirty political game of the Tatmadaw to show who has the arbitrary power and to claim its military role in the country politics by creating chaos and destabilising security dillema. Such unconstructive actions and irresponsible speeches of Ye Htut and Thein Sein’s government could damage long term peace building process to be carried out by the new NLD ministration. I can say that there will be more dirty game of USDP and Tatmadaw coming into show in coming months.

  2. In a country where election was fleshly held, the result still unannounced, and transition to a new government yet incompleted, the BENEVOLENCE of a good government would always be to STOP War and to address any political problem through DIALOGUE. Ye Htut, Thein Sein’s government and Tatmadaw are doing the opposite. They should change their old habits for the country’s good. You don’t have to be saint and monk to know this. Even an illeterate children knows what to say and do in such critical time. Don’t trick Burmese citizens with your dirty talks. We are sick and tired of these.

  3. Whereas the Burmese soldiers have been long accused of being responsible for arresting, torturing, raping and killing countless men and women in ethnic states, KIA soldiers have been rarely charged with raping, torturing and killing locals in their controlled areas, suggesting that the public statement made by Ye Htut in justification for the military offensive waged by the Burmese army against the KIA is “ironic” and “silly.”

  4. The Ministry of Defence and the Chief of Staff MUST be subject and subservient to the elected Member of Parliament who becomes the Minister of Defence. Change the mickey-mouse constitution. As long as the Military has independence of Parliament they will do what they like and there will never ever be peace with the minorities.

  5. Those lovely precious minerals is so dear to give up.

    Having lived above the law with impunity for so long, it is hard to live like a common man under the law.

    A crow cannot leave a floating carcass, hyenas can not give up the carcass without a fight, bees cannot leave flower without a sting.
    Hope they are not buying time for further mischief when the spotlight is off.

    Such an isolated small town with inadequate resource, few inlets and outlets, wide open landing strips, worthless bunkers and tunnels..

    I am sure the incumbents will be patriotic and honorable enough to follow through with a smooth and timely transfer of power.

  6. It will take time, however the military will come within the fold of the government.

    From dust to dust. From nowhere to some where. Who appointed them?. They cannot leave the real hard productive work to the civilians and enjoy a large piece of pie with impunity above the government.

    They do not enjoy the support of the people and their own troops. A distinct shearing at the plain of 04 and 05. A lot of well informed and patriotic soldiers with no criminal records, these days.

    Ceremonial soldiers can keep on enjoying their fine life and fat bellies, but must come under The Defense Ministry. Only AFPFL [Nu} can allow such a status because Ne Win was one of thirty comrades. It was a gutless mistake of a dreamer. A lazy, in efficient smooth talker with NO plan or preparation. Kyaw Nyein and Ba Swe would have handled discreetly, differently and effectively. Now, we have this .

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