Myanmar Troops Sustain Heavy Casualties as Kachin Keep Control of Strategic Base

By The Irrawaddy 14 April 2021

Nearly 100 Myanmar military troops were killed in the regime’s attempt to retake control of a strategic base near the Chinese border from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Tensions have been rising since the KIA seized the Alaw Bum base, which was previously occupied by the Tatmadaw, on March 25.

The military launched several airstrikes over four days in their efforts to recapture the base from the KIA.

Light Infantry Battalion 320 of Myanmar’s military, based in Momauk Township of Kachin State and consisting of about 100 troops, came in two columns to attack the KIA outpost at the base. However, one column withdrew on Tuesday, after suffering a heavy defeat in which the battalion commander died.

Another column clashed with KIA forces on Tuesday night and also suffered heavy casualties.

“I am afraid almost all the troops in that military column have died. I heard only two or three soldiers survived in that column. And our troops are pursuing them,” said KIA information officer Col. Naw Bu, according to local news outlet Kachin Waves.

As of Wednesday, the KIA had arrested 38 Myanmar military soldiers.

No exchange of fire was reported on Alaw Bum on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a starving soldier of Myanmar’s military was arrested at Mongsaiyan village near Laiza, the area under the direct control of the KIA’s headquarters, the news outlet said.

“That soldier said they had not eaten any food except banana buds for eight days,” said Col. Naw Bu.

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

A skirmish was reported near Namya village by Myitkyina-Hpakant road on Wednesday morning. Military convoys came under mine attacks in Kachin State on Tuesday as well.

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