KIA Claims Howitzer Mortar Shelling on Villages

Kachin Independence Army soldiers in northern Burma. (Photo: James Robert Fuller.)

Howitzer artillery shelling is being used on civilian territory surrounding the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) headquarters of Laiza, claim rebel sources.

Government army artillery battalions 364 and 370 under Artillery Operational Command have reportedly been firing 105 mm howitzers against KIA bases in northern Burma since last week.

“As they shell Kachin villages in KIA-controlled areas with howitzers every night, we wonder what happened to the peace process,” said La Nan, the main spokesperson for the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

He revealed that government troops have also been approaching areas close to the rebel’s Laiza stronghold where thousands of Kachin civilians are taking shelter. There is no sign that hostilities are coming to an end while peace talks between KIO leaders and the government peace delegation are also on hold.

La Nan said that the KIO’s last contact with Naypyidaw representatives was in July. Since then, fighting between the KIA and government army has escalated severely.

In late August, at least 50 government soldiers died in a large explosion caused by a mortar shell landing on a store containing explosive materials and fuel in the Shrawng Kha area of Hpakant Township.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that the government now bans all international aid to Kachin refugees in KIO-controlled areas.

Vivian Tan, the spokesperson for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Asia, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that around 5,000 Kachin refugees have been forced back to war-torn Kachin State by the Chinese authorities since the middle of August.

“Some of them [returned Kachin refugees] said that they were asked to break down their shelters [in China]. And many had to walk for quite a long distance while some were sent by trucks,” she said.

“We appeal to the Chinese government to stop sending these groups back. In the meantime, we see too many insurgencies and instability in Kachin State. They should not be sent back from China.”

So far, the UNHCR has not been able to reach or assist Kachin refugees living along the Chinese side of the frontier despite repeatedly requesting permission from the Chinese authorities. However, a team has been able to travel via Burma to Lwe Je (Lwaigyai) by the border to provide aid and assess the needs of returnees.

The UNHCR has so far distributed relief items—including tarpaulin, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and basic toiletries—to 1,200 returnees in the four Internally Displaced Person camps in Lwe Je.

Due to hostilities between the KIA and government army that erupted in June last year, around 90,000 civilians have been displaced by fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states, report humanitarian agencies.

11 Responses to KIA Claims Howitzer Mortar Shelling on Villages

  1. Collateral damage (or civilian casualties) is a common occurrence in every war and cannot be avoided. War is war and peace is peace. Anything in between is unstable. Brave and honest soldiers fight to win or to die, not to sit on the fence and negotiate (for smuggling rights?).
    Because of the sectarian riots in Arakan, and the opposition against UN and NGO involvement in that region, the word “human rights” has a bad connotation everywhere in Burma, including Kachin State. The rest of the world is very sceptical now about anyone in Burma talking about “human rights” and “refugees”. That card was overplayed!
    You can’t have monks protesting against UN and NGO involvement in Arakan and at the same time ask for help in Kachin State. Viewed from the rest of the world Burma is still one sovereign country, ethnic conflicts notwithstanding.

  2. I feel like I am repeating the old tune but, we have been killing each others for so long when we need to tackle endemic poverty and underdevelopment issues together. why can’t we just learn to coexist and settle personal vendetta in a civilized manner? Getting tired of reading tragic news of killings when I need to read the otherwise.Jeezeee!!! Come on folks, we can create environment that enables a broader development of our people from diverse background!

  3. What happened to the peace process?
    Then what happened to all those bridges and infrastructures that KIO blew up in the past year? Is that how you protect your own people? KIO is a group of racially extremists who have less than 10% of their own people’s support!

    • Simple. There is NO peace process. Never was and never WILL be.

      Two-faced, grinning liar Aung Min goes around horse trading with leaders of armed groups for division of LOOTS. Most agree.

      Even if the KIO leadership wants to sell out now, there has been too much HURT on the side of Kachin people in the last very short year.

      The fact the Than Shwe’s Sit-tut is killing pimping for his dear papa Chinese does not help either.

      Money and Chinese. Not good incentive for peace in Kachin Land. Not even best seller writer Thant Myint-U’s promised Shangri-la of India-China , Bangal coast-Yunan trade routes of prosperity and degradations/ deprivations, and All-Burma (water powered) Electricity which all the “exiles” are prepared to sell their mothers for.

  4. By the way, people didn’t go to Laiza to take shelter! It’s KIO who brought them there!
    Stop using refugees as human shields in a war, KIO!

    • You don’t think all the Burmese army rape cases,looting of churches and extrajudicial killing might not be the reason? Check out the news. Everything is well documented.

      For example, Burmese troops would raid a village and put babies in rice grinders.

      Yes, they do have it on records. You don’t want to make yourself look like a fool.

    • I think you have to educated yourself before commenting on issues that you have no knowledge. KIO is taking these refugees for human shields? Are you even serious or just one of those blinded burmese patriots? I guess you don’t even know KIO/KIA exists before this war.

  5. Maybe thein sein and koko gyi et al would announce out of convenience that kachins were never one of burma’s recognized ethnic minorities and rightfully deserve the assault.

    • that would be a great gift to Kachin if he announces that. I am sure they would feel they are being treated unfairly and oppressed since the day they volantarily joined the union. I like that idea. If you have boyfriend or girlfriend bad to you. You can leave.

  6. i see the bamar nationalists are now also making the KIA a evil threat..WHO ATTACKED WHOM starting in 2010???

  7. Leave the Kachins alone. Kachins do not need troublemakers but peace.

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