A civilian was killed by a Myanmar military artillery strike last Thursday, after ethnic armed group the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) clashed with junta soldiers in Waingmaw Township, Kachin State.
The KIA attacked Infantry Battalion 58 of Myanmar’s military on the outskirts of Waingmaw Township around 10.30pm on Thursday last week.
“The fighting took place after KIA Battalion 3 attacked Battalion 58. The military responded with artillery fire. I heard two villagers were injured as artillery shells landed on a village,” said KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu.
Locals said a regime artillery shell landed in Tanbawng village-tract, killing a 30-year-old man and wounding another.
“The dead man was from an urban ward in Waingmaw. He was inside a workshop when it took a direct hit from the artillery shell,” said a local resident.
In late June, the KIA attacked a military checkpoint near Balaminhtin Bridge linking the Kachin State capital Myitkyina with Waingmaw Township. Two junta police were injured in the attack.
“The only reason to attack the military and their outposts is to resist the military regime. The regime has increased its presence in Kachin lately, stockpiling weapons and food. It appears that they will be conducting military operations. So we have to make pre-emptive strikes,” said Col. Naw Bu.
The two sides were in the process of negotiating a ceasefire before the military’s Feb. 1 coup. Renewed clashes broke out in early March after junta forces shot dead two anti-regime protesters in Myitkyina, despite the KIA warning them not to harm pro-democracy protesters in Kachin State.
Since then, clashes have intensified with the KIA attacking military and police outposts in Injangyang, Shwegu, Bhamo, Momauk, Hpakant, Tanai, Namti, Mogaung and Waingmaw townships, as well as military boats on the Ayeyarwady River. Tensions are also running high between the KIA and the Myanmar military in northern Shan State.
The KIA has also allied with civilian resistance fighters operating as People’s Defense Forces from Katha and Kawlin townships in Sagaing Region to fight the military regime.
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