The Irrawaddy

KIA Reports Clashes with Burma Army

Kachin Independence Army soldiers pictured in northern Burma. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops clashed with the Burma Army in Hpakant Township of Kachin State, according to Lt-Col Tang Seng of KIA Battalion 6.

“We are closely watching the [Burma Army] troops after they entered areas under our control,” he told The Irrawaddy on Friday. “We have had only small clashes so far, but we are expecting a big fight.”

He estimated that at least five battalions from the Burma Army, also known as the Tatmadaw, entered KIA-controlled areas.

“We did not negotiate with them, they would not accept that even if we tried, as we have no ceasefire agreement,” he said.

The KIA’s bilateral ceasefire with the government broke down in 2011.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the Burma Army or speak to people on the ground to confirm the KIA’s reports.

Clashes between the KIA and the Tatmadaw had simmered down after government troops launched a large-scale offensive in December last year and seized the strategically important KIA base Gideon and two other mountain posts.

The National League for Democracy-led government will hold the second round of its Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong peace conference, next week.

Although State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that all ethnic armed groups would be invited attend, it is unclear in what capacity.

The KIA had previously suggested that if the organization was invited as an “observer” to the peace conference it would not attend.