Tensions Heighten Between KIA and Burma Army Amid Rangoon Peace Talks
By Lawi Weng & Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 4 July 2016
Tensions remain high after fighting broke out over the weekend between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army in Laiza—the KIA headquarters—amid ongoing peace talks in Rangoon.
According to local sources, bombs hit the Burma Army on July 1 at Nan San Yang village in Winemaw Township and members of the army were wounded.
Later, a Burma Army battalion allegedly shot artillery fire at the KIA headquarters in Laiza.
“They shot their 81mm mortar at us five times,” said Lt-Col Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the KIA, adding, “There are ongoing peace talks [in Rangoon], so we would not let our members attack them.”
“No one was wounded from our side,” he said, adding that although the Burma Army suffered losses, the KIA would not make a public statement about the extent of the casualties because it did not want to trigger more fighting.
Burma’s Ministry of Defense reported on July 2 that the Burma Army had accused the KIA of detonating remote controlled landmines while two government battalions rotated and resupplied rations.
“The fighting broke out at about 8 a.m. local time,” said a defense ministry statement. “Six landmines blew up and soldiers were wounded, but the KIA withdrew their troops after the army fought back.”
“Tensions are high,” said Naw Bu, adding, “They are preparing their armed forces for another fight and we are closely observing their troop movements.”