The Mansi Township police chief was killed in an attack by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on the central police station in the town in Bhamo District, Kachin State at around 8 p.m. on Monday.
“Police Major Hein Htet died immediately. And another police officer was seriously injured. We are civilians, so we don’t have details of their injuries. They were rushed to Bhamo Military Hospital,” a local resident said.
There was an exchange of fire as KIA fighters attacked the police station. The Myanmar military’s Light Infantry Battalion 319, which is located near the police station, also responded with artillery fire.
KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu justified the KIA’s attack on the police station, saying police are working hand in glove with the Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) in committing violence against civilians.
“We have to attack the police stations now. Police are the same [as the military]. Everyone knows that police are also responsible for violence against the people. So, we carried out the attack,” Col. Naw Bu said.
The KIA colonel said he had not received reports from the ground, and was thus unable to confirm whether any weapons or ammunition had been seized from the police station.
The KIA was in the process of negotiating a bilateral ceasefire agreement with Myanmar’s military before the Feb. 1 coup. However, clashes broke out between the group and the Tatmadaw on March 11 after the latter’s troops shot dead peaceful anti-regime protesters in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State.
Since then, the KIA has launched attacks on military and police outposts of the military junta in Kachin, attacking one police outpost each in Hpakant and Shwegu townships in March.
Military tensions are highest in Momauk, where the Tatmadaw is attempting to retake control of a strategic hilltop post on the Chinese border that the KIA seized in late March. The military has been conducting airstrikes in Momauk after suffering heavy casualties in ground fighting.
On Monday morning, the KIA shot down a military helicopter gunship in Momauk, killing three soldiers on board.
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