KIA Launches Attack to Seize Major Road from Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 13 May 2021

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar’s military have been fighting fiercely in Mansi Township, Kachin State, and the junta is reportedly conducting air strikes.

The fighting is taking place in Madan Yang village, about 8km from Mansi on the road to Namkham in northern Shan State.

KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu confirmed the fighting. “The KIA attacked military council troops on Tuesday. The military has carried out air strikes,” he said. The fighting also continued on Thursday.

The KIA has carried out attacks because junta troop deployments in Mada Yang have restricted KIA movements, said Col. Naw Bu.

When clashes took place between Myanmar’s military and the KIA in Mansi Township from 2013 to 2017, villagers fled their homes along the roads from Mansi to Namkham and Mabein in Shan State.

At least 15 villages, including Mada Yang, emptied following the fighting. Around 2,000 villagers are still at displacement camps elsewhere in Mansi. Myanmar’s military is deployed at the abandoned Mada Yang village.

“Mada Yang was previously under our control. Our troops withdrew from the Mansi road in 2013 and the military occupied it. This has created serious logistical problems for us. So it has become necessary for us to retake control so we attacked,” said Col. Naw Bu.

KIA Brigade 3 and Light Infantry Battalion 319 of Myanmar’s military are deployed in Mansi.

“Myanmar’s military has deployed along the road. Civilians have long fled [their roadside homes],” said Mansi resident La Ja.

Two jet fighters bombed near Madan Yang on Tuesday and aircraft were visible on Wednesday, he said.

Tensions are also running high in Momauk as the military attempts to retake the Alaw Bum base near the Chinese border in the town which the KIA seized in late March.

Fierce clashes continued in Momauk on Thursday morning and a major bridge on the Bhamo-Lweljel road in the township was damaged in a mine attack.

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