Burma Army, KIA Clash in Kachin State

The Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fought in Kachin State on Monday after Kachin forces said that the Tatmadaw entered their territory.

The battle lasted around 30 minutes and occurred at La Mai Yang village.

“We clashed with them when they came into our area. We blasted two or three landmines when they came into our area. Then we attacked them with small arms. After that, we withdrew from the camp,” a KIA officer told NMG.

The Kachin Independence Organization reported on its own news site, The Kachin Net, that Burmese military columns from Light Infantry Battalion 389 and Infantry Battalion 237 launched an offensive into the Ga Hkyeng Bum area, in the KIA’s Battalion 5 territory from 10:30 until 11:00 a.m. on Monday.

On June 22, the Burma Army destroyed a KIO medical checkpoint set up to screen for COVID-19 near Loije on the China border, leaving the government forces and the KIA’s Battalion 1 very close to the fighting. However, when the KIA arrived at the site of the demolished checkpoint, the government troops had already returned to their base.

Northern Shan State has seen multiple clashes between the two forces in June. Combined forces from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Divisions 88 and 99 attacked the KIA’s Htan Hpa Bum camp in Muse Township from June 6-7. Fighting also occurred in the Kaleng area of Kutkai Township between June 16 and June 21.

Col N’hpang Naw Bu, who is in charge of the KIO’s information department, has said that the Burma Army has been intentionally attacking KIA troops in northern Shan State.

The Burma Army declared a unilateral ceasefire throughout the country from May 10 until August 31 to aid COVID-19 prevention, but fighting has been ongoing. The military also excluded areas in which “terrorist groups” were active, a likely reference to the Arakan Army, which the government declared a terrorist organization on March 23.

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