The ambush comes amid tensions in peace negotiations between the Burmese government and the KIA’s political wing.
An ambush on a Burma Army military convoy by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) left two Burmese soldiers dead and six wounded near Mongkoe in northern Shan State’s Muse District on Wednesday.
The landmine attack by the KIA’s Battalion 36 targeted a convoy consisting of 14 military vehicles as it travelled on the Namtau-Mungbaw road.
“I don’t know if this military convoy was carrying reinforcement troops or was part of a troop reshuffle. Our forces launched a landmine attack on the convoy between the villages of Kawng Hka and Mungbaw at around 12 noon,” said a KIA officer who spoke to KNG on condition of anonymity.
No clashes have been reported in the area since the attack.
A unilateral ceasefire was declared by the Burma Army in Shan and Kachin states late last year, and was extended for another 60 days on June 30. Despite the ceasefire, however, the Burma Army mounted a three-day offensive in April to seize control of the KIA’s Battalion 36 headquarters in the village of Howa and on Howa Bum hill near Mungbaw.
The attack comes amid tensions in negotiations between the Burmese government’s Peace Commission and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the KIA.
According to KIA officials, the Peace Commission has demanded that the KIO provide a complete inventory of weapons held by the KIA and disclose its total number of troops no later than July 15. So far, however, it has declined to provide this information.
The Myitkyina-based Kachin Peace-talk Creation Group, which is acting as an intermediary between the two sides, said that if the Burma Army and the KIO/KIA cannot sign a bilateral ceasefire during the current unilateral ceasefire period, it is possible that fighting will resume at the end of August.