Kachin Independence Army Calls Myanmar’s People to be Alert

By The Irrawaddy 24 June 2021

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has urged people to stay alert to political and military developments as fighting can erupt at any time in urban or rural areas.

Though fighting previously only took place in forests and other rural areas between Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups, clashes can also take place in towns any time as civilians take up arms against the military, said KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu.

“We are concerned about the people as clashes are taking place. So I urge the people to follow the news more carefully than ever before. The country is seeing increasing instability,” said Col. Naw Bu.

Renewed clashes broke out between Myanmar’s military and the KIA in Hpakant Township after the armed forces shot dead two anti-regime protesters in state capital Myitkyina in early March, despite the KIA’s request not to harm protesters.

The armed group has since attacked military and police outposts in Kachin and northern Shan states. In its latest assault on the junta, two police officers were injured when KIA troops attacked a checkpoint at a bridge across the Ayeyarwady River linking Myitkyina and Waingmaw townships on Wednesday.

Following the regime’s crackdowns on protests, formerly peaceful protesters are now branding themselves as the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and taking up arms in response to military rule and conducting bombing and shooting attacks on the regime in urban areas.

On Tuesday, fighting between the PDF and regime troops broke out in Mandalay, leaving casualties on both side and killing a junta lieutenant colonel. Deadly shootouts are occurring in Kayah State.

The military regime is stockpiling food and recruiting in Kachin State, said Col. Naw Bu, suggesting the military is preparing for nationwide clashes.

While the KIA is battling junta troops in northern Shan State and Kachin states, it is also helping politicians wanted by the regime, striking civil servants and young people preparing to fight the junta. The regime has accused the KIA of providing military training to young activists.

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