The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has attacked seven tanker trucks in northern Shan State with artillery on suspicion that they were carrying aviation fuel for Myanmar’s junta.
The trucks were attacked on the Union Highway and Kutkai-Hseni road, transporting fuel from China through Muse.
KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu said the armed group attacked five tanker trucks on the Union Highway, two in separate attacks on the Kutkai-Hseni road on Monday and Tuesday.
“People told us that the fuel is not for public use but for the military council, so we opened fire,” said Col. Naw Bu.
There was no fighting with the military in northern Shan State, apart from the attacks, he said.
Myanmar’s military has been using jet fighters to retake control of the strategic hilltop Alaw Bum base on the Chinese border in Kachin State’s Momauk Township, which was seized by the ethnic armed group in late March.
The outpost allows the KIA to control the road between Kachin State’s capital, Myitkyina, and Bhamo, also in Kachin State. The armed group has also attacked the Myitkyina airbase and Bhamo Airport with artillery, reportedly forcing Myanmar’s air force to fly from Shan State’s Lashio, Mandalay and Meiktila in Mandalay Region to attack Momauk.
The KIA had reason to believe the tanker trucks were providing jet fuel to bomb Momauk, Col. Naw Bu said.
“They attacked with two jet fighters yesterday in Momauk,” he told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.
The military regime has not commented on the attacks and The Irrawaddy was unable to find out what had happened to the drivers.
“All we know is two tankers, one today and one yesterday, have burned down between Kutkai and Hseni. We don’t go out when we hear gunfire,” said a resident.
The National Energy Puma Aviation Services Co Ltd, a joint venture between Singapore-based Puma Energy Co and the government-owned Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise, is Myanmar’s major supplier of aviation fuel. But Puma Energy suspended imports following the military coup in February, disrupting supplies.
The regime has since reportedly been importing Chinese aviation fuel.
The KIA was negotiating a ceasefire agreement with Myanmar’s military before the Feb. 1 coup but clashes broke out on March 11 after the security forces shot dead peaceful anti-regime protesters in Myitkyina.
The KIA has launched attacks on military and police outposts in Kachin State.
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