Ethnic Kachin Armed Group Launches Multiple Attacks on Myanmar Military

By The Irrawaddy 20 April 2021

Ethnic armed group the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) attacked a police outpost in Maden Yang village in Lone Khin village-tract in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township around 7pm Monday. The number of casualties is still unknown.

“We heard gunfire and explosions until 9pm. Locals are planning to flee from their homes as gunfire has been heard every night recently,” said a local resident.

The KIA’s Battalion 6 has been attacking outposts of the Myanmar military’s Division 33 in Hpakant Township. On Sunday night and Monday morning, it attacked two military outposts near Gensi village in Lone Khin village-tract and Aungbarlay village, according to local residents.

“Myanmar’s military bombed with jet fighters around 9am this morning and residents from both Gensi and Aungbarlay had to flee. Around 1,000 people from both villages have fled,” said a Gensi resident on Monday morning.

The KIA has warned local people to flee to safe places.

Local residents said the KIA occupied the two military outposts on Monday morning. KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu confirmed the armed group’s ongoing fighting with Myanmar’s military in Hpakant, but said he had been unable to contact commanders on the ground and thus did not know exact details.

“Recently, as a preemptive measure, our troops at the front lines are seizing military outposts depending on the situation. Headquarters did not instruct them to occupy this or that outpost. The commanders on the ground assess the situation and decide which outpost to attack. Especially, we are focused on retaking control of outposts that we had previously lost to the military,” said Colonel Naw Bu.

The two bases the KIA attacked on Sunday and Monday were formerly outposts of the KIA’s Battalion 6. The KIA lost them to Myanmar’s military in 2016.

Fighting between the KIA and the Myanmar military broke out again in June 2011 after a 17-year truce collapsed. Clashes virtually ceased from December 2018 to January of this year as the two sides were in the process of negotiating a bilateral ceasefire.

Following the junta’s Feb. 1 coup, the KIA asked the military’s Northern Command not to harm peaceful Kachin people protesting against the regime.

But tensions grew after two civilians were shot dead in a crackdown by the security forces on anti-regime protesters in the Kachin capital Myitkyina a month later.

Since then, the KIA has carried out a series of attacks on police and military outposts in Injangyang, Momauk, Namtu, Hpakant, Tanai and Shwegu townships. The KIA has also occupied the strategic Alaw Bum base near the border with China.

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