Clashes have broken out in several areas in Kachin State between members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army along the highway connecting Mogaung and Hpakant townships. According to local sources, government forces suffered casualties and police officers were wounded in the fighting.
Locals said that KIA soldiers from Battalion 6 reportedly ambushed a convoy of Burma Army trucks using the road on Monday, destroying two vehicles—one near the village of Nam Sheng, and one near Gauri.
Lt-Col Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the KIA, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, “We heard that fighting broke out on the highway from Mogaung to Hpakant. We heard that two [Burma] army trucks were destroyed in Kamaing.” Kamaing is a town in Hpakant Township.
According to a Facebook post by a Burma Army soldier who goes by Sgt Pho Si, eight policemen—including one officer—were wounded after the KIA attack in the Kamaing area. He said that those injured received treatment at a hospital in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State.
Regarding the two army trucks which were destroyed, Lt-Col Naw Bu said that he did not have detailed information of the circumstances surrounding the clashes, but had heard that the Burma Army troops had “gotten close” to the KIA-controlled area, and members of the KIA had gone on the offensive.
The military-owned Myawady Daily also reported on Tuesday that members of the KIA had attacked the Burma Army on the evening of August 7 in a village in the Dawphoneyan sub-township—which is near the KIA base of Laiza—and added that “some officers had sacrificed their lives for the country.”
Fighting has broken out in many locations throughout Kachin State following an initial clash in Hpakant– where the Burma Army cracked down on illegal mining and detained 12 men in the area. On August 3, in the midst of the crackdown, there was a clash with the KIA.
Tension remains high in Hpakant and Tanai townships, as well as in northern Shan State, where the KIA’s Brigade 6 is based, according to Lt-Col Naw Bu.
Burma is set to begin its Union Peace Conference on August 31, but government forces have continued military offensives against the KIA and in northern Shan State against groups like the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
“This is the time to build trust, but the Burmese Army keeps attacking our KIA. We need to utilize defensive attacks in order to protect our area. They should stop fighting,” said Lt-Col Naw Bu.