KIA Uses Artillery on Myanmar Police in Jade-Mining Hub

By The Irrawaddy 19 March 2021

Yangon — The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fired artillery at a police station in Hpakant Township, Myanmar’s jade-mining hub in Kachin State, on Thursday morning.

KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu confirmed that troops used artillery on Thursday on Nam Hmaw police station in Seik Mu village-tract and against Shanni people’s militia outposts. The militia is controlled by Myanmar’s military.

The police station provides security for jade mines in Hpakant.

“It was not a clash. The KIA also fired artillery on outposts of the people’s militias in Nam Hmaw,” Col. Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy.

Residents said they heard gunshots and explosions on Thursday morning. “I heard the sounds of shelling, around six shots, early on Thursday morning in Mawlake. And I also heard some gunshots in Seik Mu at noon. I have not heard about casualties so far,” a resident told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Four residents told The Irrawaddy they heard gunshots on Thursday at noon but Col. Naw Bu said he did not know about any daytime attacks.

The military’s governing body, the State Administrative Council, has said nothing.

KIA Brigade 9 wrote to Hpakant residents this week telling them not to allow the junta’s forces to use schools and religious buildings for accommodation.

It threatened punishment for anyone using their vehicles to carry ammunition and food for the military.

Jade is a major source of income for the military and its business associates.

The military and the KIA were in the process of negotiating for a ceasefire before the Feb. 1 coup. The Kachin armed group asked the Northern Command of Myanmar’s military not to harm peaceful Kachin protesters opposing the military regime.

Two civilians were shot dead in a crackdown by the security forces on anti-regime protesters in Kachin State’s capital, Myitkyina, on March 8. A third protester was shot dead in Hpakant on March 14.

Three days after the Myitkyina killings, the KIA raided a military outpost in Hpakant and attacked another military outpost in Injangyang Township on March 15.

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