Four soldiers from the Burma army were killed yesterday during a clash with troops from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Shan state, said KIA officers at the frontline.
According to local eyewitnesses, at least 10 soldiers were injured during the hour-long firefight which took place in the Honam area near Namhsan in Kyaukme district. The battle saw the KIA’s battalion 34 face off against the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion No. 502, said a KIA officer.
KIA Battalions 8 and 34 based in Shan State's Namtu and Mantong townships have been involved in frequent battles with the Burma army along a strip of KIA territory where the Shwe gas project will be built. The controversial project which is currently under way will see twin oil and gas pipelines deliver fuel from the Arakan coast to China's Yunnan region.
Since early April government forces have stepped up their presence in KIA territory in northern Shan state leading to an increase in clashes in the area, say local residents.