Myanmar Junta Chief Visits Kachin Amid High Military Tensions

By The Irrawaddy 14 December 2022

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing visited the Kachin State capital Myitkyina on Tuesday amid high tensions with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Accompanying Min Aung Hlaing was Air Force chief General Tun Aung, who was responsible for an October air attack on a concert marking the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization, the political wing of the KIA. At least 60 people were killed in the attack.

The regime said the Hpakant airstrike was in response to the KIA training and arming resistance groups in Sagaing Region. The KIA said it would turn the sorrow into strength to continue the revolution.

Tuesday’s visit was Min Aung Hlaing’s second to Kachin since the 2021 coup after one in September last year.

Min Aung Hlaing meets addresses military officers in Kachin State on Tuesday. / Cincds

Min Aung Hlaing called for collaboration to create stability and unity among his personnel, according to the junta media. He reportedly gave details about how soldiers’ weapons were being improved.

Continuous clashes have been reported this month. Regime forces suffered heavy casualties in Hpakant last week and it abducted 21 civilians as potential human shields.

Min Aung Hlaing’s visit was seen as an attempt to boost junta morale.

Kachin communities are condemning the regime for detaining Kachin Baptist leader Dr. Hkalam Samson last week. The former Kachin Baptist Convention president was seized while attempting to fly to Bangkok for medical treatment.

The regime claims the KIA is providing military and financial help to resistance forces in Kachin and neighboring Sagaing Region. The armed group has rejected junta invitations to peace talks.