Burma Army Seizes Four KIA Bases

By Lawi Weng & Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 10 January 2017

RANGOON — The Burma Army seized four more bases from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) by using ground and air forces, the Ministry of Defense has reported.

“We took four bases in total from KIA insurgents. There were seven casualties from the enemies’ side and we seized some guns and ammunition,” stated the defense report issued on January 8.

The Burma Army has intensified its military offensive against the KIA since December, during which time it has taken seven bases in total, including two strategic mountain outposts: Laing Paung and Gideon.

The Ministry of Defense report also described the KIA leadershipas motivated by business interests andsuggested that they had attempted to destroy peace efforts in the country. It accused them of using internally displaced people as human shields, and of initiating the current bout of fighting.

DaungKhar, a Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) technical team head and KIA leader, confirmed that the Burmese military took four of their bases in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township, after fighting broke out in five locations near the seized Laing Paung post.

He added that fighting had occurred in two additional townships: Tanai in Kachin State and Kutkai in northern Shan State. DaungKhar also said that the KIO’s technical team, based in Myitkyina, had been warned by the military that it would be held responsible if any blasts were to occur in the state capital.

The KIA is among Burma’s ethnic armed groups that did not sign the 2015 nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the government and the Burma Army, citing a lack of inclusivity. Pressure to become signatories to the NCA persists, DaungKhar said.

“If we sign it, what will happen? If we don’t, what will happen? We have the right to think it over,” he explained.

He added that members of the KIA were disappointed by the silence from the elected National League for Democracy government, led by State Counselor DawAung San SuuKyi, regarding the Burma Army offensive in the country’s north.

“Many of our Kachin people voted for the NLD, but the NLD is ignoring the voices of our people now,” DaungKhar said.