RANGOON – The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) alleged that on Friday morning the Burma Army launched air strikes from four fighter jets on its armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The Burma Army attacked Inkaren Hill in Waingmaw Township where KIA Battalion No. 252 was deployed, KIO information officer Lt-Col Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy.
“We can confirm that [the Burma Army] attacked with four fighter jets for about an hour from 8am. I have not yet received information about the situation on the ground, so I have no comment about that,” he said.
The Burma Army has not made a statement about the alleged attack and The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain a comment from the Directorate of Public Relations and Psychological Warfare under the Ministry of Defense.
U Koi Darn, who is in charge of a relief camp at Mongna Baptist Church in Waingmaw Township, told The Irrawaddy he saw planes overhead around 9am on Friday.
After the ‘21st Century Panglong’ peace conference, the Burma Army has frequently launched offensives on the KIA. The KIO views these actions as an attempt to pressure the KIA to sign the NCA before the second round of the peace conference.
“While we are dedicated to building peace through negotiation, it is not right to pressure us into political talks through military operations,” said Lt-Col Naw Bu.
Since the recent conflict flared, Kachin locals in state capital Myitkyina and Tanai Township have held mass demonstrations calling on the Burma Army to immediately end military offensives. Demonstrators also demanded federalism and self-determination and stressed the need to solve political problems by political means.
The KIA is a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)—an ethnic alliance of non-signatories of the NCA.
The KIA signed a ceasefire agreement with Burma’s ruling military regime in 1994 that collapsed when the Burma Army and the KIA came to blows over the Tarpein Hydropower Project in 2011, forcing hundreds of thousands of local people from their homes.