Friday, June 21, 2013

Burma army and KIA battle in southern Kachin state

Clashes between the Burma army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke out in the Bhamo district of southern Kachin state earlier this week.

Two separate clashes took place at the abandoned Du Hku village located in an area controlled by KIA Battalion 27 (under KIA 3rd Brigade) on June 18 and 19 when government troops from Infantry Battalion No. 240 entered KIA territory, according to Salang Kaba Doi Pyi Sa, head of the local refugee and relief committee.

The first clash happened on Tuesday evening and lasted about 15 minutes. While the second clash took place Wednesday morning and lasted a little bit more than 20 minutes, said a KIA officer from the group's 3rd Brigade when contacted by the Kachin News Group. Both clashes occurred in about the same place.

“The Burmese troops intentionally made aggressive maneuvers towards the KIA post, so fighting broke out,” said the officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. There were no dead from either sides but troops from both sides sustained injuries, said the officer who requested anonymity.

The troops from IB No. 140 troops were joined by troops from Light Infantry Division No. 99, who had recently traveled to the area from Mansi (also Manje).

The fighting took place near Mai Ja Yang, the second largest town controlled by the KIA's political wing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Mai Ja Yang is also home to thousands of internally displaced people (IDP). The fighting did not appear to threaten the safety of the IDPs said Doi Pyi Sa.

“The clashes happened although there is a process agreed to by both parties towards reducing the conflict. The conflict will continue if government forces continue to venture into KIO territory” he added.

The fighting stopped when the Burmese troops retreated from the area and returned to their base located in Kai Htik.

At the end of May a delegation from Burma's government and the KIO signed an agreement in which they both agreed to decrease military tensions and work towards peace. The agreement was not a ceasefire however and some fighting has continued to occur, in particular in northern Shan state.


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