The Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) have had clashes for four consecutive days—from June 16-19—in Kutkai Township in northern Shan State, according to KIA sources.
Locals in Kaleng village—the area in which the fighting took place—said that they most recently heard the sound of artillery fire nearby on Friday. According to a KIA officer, a battle lasted from 5:00-6:00 p.m.
“A military column from the Burma Army and the KIA’s Battalion 29 clashed in the area. It was an intense battle,” an officer from the KIA’s Brigade 4 told KNG.
Kaleng is located more than eight miles west of Kutkai town, where the KIA’s Battalion 8 under Brigade 4 is based.
Military columns from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Division (LID) 88 and LID 99 have been active in the area, contributing to the clashes with Kachin forces.
The Burma Army attacked and captured the KIA’s Battalion 9 headquarters under Brigade 6 at Htan Hpa hill in Muse Township, northern Shan State on June 6 and 7.
The Burma Army and the KIO have held negotiations toward a bilateral ceasefire agreement. The KIA headquarters have issued orders to its ground forces not to attack Burma Army military columns, and only to fight in defense.
To control and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burma Army issued a unilateral ceasefire declaration throughout the country from May 10-August 31. The ceasefire precluded any areas with “terrorist organizations,” a likely reference to the Arakan Army, which the government declared a terrorist organization on March 23.
The KIA is a member of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed organizations, along with the Arakan Army, the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army. The KIA is also a member of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee. The KIA is not a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.