The Irrawaddy

Tatmadaw Pushes Back KIA Battalions in Kachin State, Alliance Says

A KIA soldier prepares to go to the front line in Tanai Township, Kachin State, in June. / Lawi Weng / The Irrawaddy

YANGON — The Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw, pushed back two battalions of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) based in southern Kachin State on Friday and Saturday, according to the Northern Alliance.

In a message posted to its Facebook page on Saturday, the alliance of four ethnic armed groups said the withdrawn KIA forces included Battalion 11, under Brigade 2, and Battalion 26, under Brigade 8.

“They were shooting their big artillery at Battalion 11 nonstop. They even shot at Ka Sung village, where there are 1,000 people, and which is near our base. We did not want the local people to be harmed, so we withdrew from our base,” the report said.

The Tatmadaw’s latest offensive started on April 11 and shows little sign of letting up, employing a combination of ground forces, shelling and air strikes. Residents of Lashio Township, across the border from Kachin in Shan State, said some 60 truckloads of Tatmadaw troops arrived on Sunday.

The alliance claimed that the Tatmadaw on Friday also fired 30 artillery shells at Brigade 5, located near the town of Laiza in KIA-controlled territory, and another 17 at Brigade 3, near a camp for families displaced by the fighting in northern Shan.

None of the members of the Northern Alliance have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military. And except for the KIA, all have been excluded from participating in the national peace process.

About 1,000 ethnic Kachin displaced by the latest fighting have arrived in Kachin State’s Namti Township in several waves since Saturday, according to the Kachin Baptist Convention, which is sheltering them in a local church.

“We were all worried that we were trapped in the middle of the fighting, so we fled our village,” said La Jawng, who fled his home in Mogaung Township.

The Irrawaddy’s Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint contributed reporting to this story.