The Kachin Independence Army has launched attacks on Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) outposts in Mogaung and Myitkyina townships in Kachin State in an operation aimed at disrupting the latter’s ongoing offensive against it, a spokesman for the armed group said.
“They attacked the headquarters of [KIA] Battalion 11, so we have launched counterattacks to slow their operation. They are conducting an offensive, so we have had to take up defensive positions,” KIA spokesman Colonel Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy.
In a statement on Feb. 3, the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services accused the KIA of abandoning peace efforts by attacking Tatmadaw headquarters, posts and patrols in Myitkyina and Mogaung townships with heavy and light weapons on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3.
The KIA said it had attacked minor Tatmadaw outposts in an attempt to reduce the intensity of the Tatmadaw’s offensives against it. The armed group denied attacking Tatmadaw command centers.
“We did not attack Mogaung and Myitkyina headquarters. We attacked only frontline posts in areas controlled by [the Tatmadaw] in the two townships,” Col. Naw Bu said.
Fighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and the KIA in Sumprabum and Tanai townships in January. A number of local residents were killed or injured and many were forced to flee their homes.
“Clashes will continue to erupt until [a lasting] peace cannot be restored in the state,” Kachin State Chief Minister Dr. Khet Aung said.
The fighting in Tanai trapped about 2,000 local residents in the conflict zone. More than 700 people in Sumprabum have been forced to take refuge in the jungle, according to a rescue committee for internally displaced persons.