Myanmar Junta Forces and KIA in Fresh Fighting in Northern Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 31 May 2021

Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and regime forces intensified on Sunday across five locations in Kachin State and Sagaing Region. One of the clashes involved a People’s Defense Force (PDF) formed by civilian resistance fighters against the military dictatorship.

The KIA joined the fierce fighting between the PDF and junta troops in Katha Township, Sagaing Region on Sunday, civilian resistance fighters in Katha said.

“The regime has been reinforcing their troops in our areas recently, restricting our movements, so we had to launch an attack,” a PDF spokesperson in Katha said. “The fighting was very intense, so the KIA joined with us,” he said.

Eight regime soldiers were killed and 13 seriously injured, while five civilian resistance fighters were killed and one was captured by the military during the fighting, according to the Katha PDF.

In response, the military fired several artillery rounds, including 60 mm shells, in residential areas, local residents claimed. Earlier, Moe Ta Lay village police station in Katha Township was set on fire by unknown attackers.

Moreover, the KIA also stormed a military outpost in Nant Mon village, near Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State’s Mohnyin Township, in the early morning of May 30. The outpost was jointly manned by regime troops and a local militia.

A KIA officer on the ground told The Irrawaddy that they had to attack first because the military has recently reinforced its troops in the area.

Fighting was also continuing in Kachin State’s Putao Township between the KIA and junta soldiers on Sunday, following a KIA attack on May 29 on a military convoy of around 50 soldiers heading to Lung Sha Yang and Sum Pyi Yang villages in Putao Township.

Local residents said that the fighting began around 11.30am near Tangja village.

There were also renewed clashes near the Alaw Bum base in Kachin State’s Momauk Township on Sunday, with junta forces attacking the KIA. The military regime has made several attempts to retake control of the strategic outpost near the border with China, after the KIA seized the base on March 25.

A local resident said that fighting had also intensified in Hpakant Township, Kachin State on May 30 between the KIA and regime forces.

“We heard gun fire for nearly two hours in the morning. The military also launched artillery strikes on the KIA,” said the local resident. “We cannot go to our fields due to the fighting. Artillery shells fell in our villages as well,” he said.

On May 29, a local school was burned down after being hit by regime airstrikes in Kachin State’s Tanai Township. The airstrikes followed the KIA’s capture of a military outpost in Talu village.

Clashes across Kachin State and northern Shan State have been taking place since March 11, following the KIA’s refusal to recognize the military regime. The KIA has attacked military and police outposts and has threatened to step up its attacks if the junta continues to kill peaceful protesters across the country.

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