Following two weeks of fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State the Burma Army launched jet fighter and helicopter air strikes against KIA camps on 23 September.
The air strikes were launched against KIA Mobile Battalion 252 at Nhkram Bum camp and KIA Brigade 3 at Lai Hpawng Bum camp, both of which are strategically important for the security of the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), the KIA’s political wing.
Lieutenant-Colonel Naw Buu, the KIO Information Officer said that the Burma Army used three aircraft in the attacks.
He said: “A [jet] fighter came to Nhkram Bum at around 3:30 pm or 4 pm. A jet fighter and a combat helicopter attacked Brigade 3’s Hpawng Bum at around 2 pm. They returned to attack again at 4 pm.”
KIA frontline sources said that a large number of Burma Army troops also attacked KIA camps on the same day (23 September) with 120mm, 105mm and 81mm artillery.
For the last two weeks the Burma Army and KIA have been fighting every day at Nhkram Bum, which lies to the east of the Myitkyina-Bhamo Road.
Previously, on 23 August, the Burma Army launched an air strike against Nhkram Bum camp with two Mi-35 combat helicopters.
According to local residents, the Burma Army has been urging local Tar Law Gyi Shanni (Red Shan) People’s Militia and Lawa Yang Lasang Awng Wa People’s Militia to join them in fighting the KIA.
Lt-Col Naw Buu said that the Burma Army had been increasing its military presence in the vicinity of KIA Battalion 17’s camps under KIA Brigade 4 in Lashio Township, northern Shan State.
On 19 September the KIO asked Kachin people to pray for the KIA and ask that they succeed in defending themselves against the Burma Army offensives.