The Myanmar army attacked a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) training base in northern Shan State’s Hseni Township on Wednesday, according to local sources.
The KIA reported that the Myanmar army attacked a KIA Brigade 10 training base and KIA forces fought back.
“We heard that they came to attack our base. KIA forces were fighting in self-defense,” KIA spokesperson Colonel Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy on Friday.
“We do not know details yet about whether the Myanmar army has withdrawn their troops from our area or whether our training base has withdrawn troops from the area, as it is very difficult to get in contact with them,” he said. Col. Naw Bu is based at the KIA headquarters in Laiza, Kachin State.
The colonel added that in the last three months, the Myanmar military has deployed troops in the territory of KIA Brigade 10 and has been searching for the KIA army base.
Kachin News Group reported that the Myanmar army fired four large artillery shells at the KIA training base, as well as lighter weapons.
The KIA reported that no one was killed and their forces were not conducting training at the base at the time.
The Myanmar army is involved in ongoing fighting with the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) but has not fought with the KIA recently. The KIA has not been a part of the conflict involving other members of the Northern Alliance—the MNDAA, the TNLA and the Arakan Army (AA).
The other three Northern Alliance groups have launched several military offensives in northern Shan State but according to the TNLA, the KIA has told their members that they were not ready yet to join those offensives.
However, the KIA has joined the other Northern Alliance members in peace negotiations sponsored by the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) several times in Kengtung and Muse, as well as in China. At NRPC negotiations in Kunming, China last month, both sides agreed to meet again in January.
The KIA has tried to negotiate a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar army and the Myanmar government but there was internal disagreement in the KIA when the Myanmar army asked it to provide numbers for the size of its armed forces as well as the types and quantities of its weapons.
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