Three Burmese soldiers from the Namma-based Light Infantry Battalion No. 386 were killed in two separate attacks by the Kachin resistance over the weekend, eyewitnesses report. The attacks took place in Burma's northern Kachin state, which in recent months has seen some of the worst fighting to affect the country in nearly two decades.
On Saturday one soldier was killed and three others injured after an attack on a vehicle convoy traveling near Lagawng Kahtawng village located between the Mogaung ferry station and Lawa. According to sources in the resistance the attack was led by troops from the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) battalion No. 14 under the command of the Hugawng valley-based KIA’s 2nd Brigade and fighters from the People’s Army. The People’s Army is separate from the KIA and instead led by a civilian command under the Kachin Independence Organization's Department of General Administration.
On Sunday two more soldiers from the same military column were killed and many more injured after a mine planted by the KIA's Battalion 14 exploded as a Burmese convoy travelled the famed Stillwell Road (also known as Ledo Road). According to witnesses the explosion took place on the Lawa to Dumbung section of the road near the Sai Lin Hka stream.
Eyewitnesses also reported that the bodies of two soldiers were buried near the stream while their injured colleagues were transported to Mogaung for treatment. Before they were moved the wounded soldiers changed into civilians clothes, the witnesses said.
A source close to the Burmese army said that the attacked convoy had been on its way to help 5 injured Burmese soldiers who had survived a December 2 attack at Dai Kri.
During the Dai Kri attack, which occurred between Ma-U Pyin and Nam Ya in the Hpakant jade mining area, the Kachin resistance killed five soldiers and seized an assortment of guns and ammunition.
While fighting between the KIO and the Burmese army continues talks between the two sides remain ongoing. Late last month representatives from the KIO met with Burmese government officials in both Thailand and China to discuss ending the conflict which began in June.
The KIO leadership has repeatedly stated that it will not make a ceasefire without proof that a truce will be followed by meaningful political dialogue.
This story compiled by our correspondent in Kachin state.