The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) set fire to two excavators belonging to the leader of a People’s Militia Force (PMF) allied with the regime in Hpakant Township, Kachin State.
On 23 May, a few days after the attack by KIA Brigade 2, Min Zin Thant, the leader of the PMF, called about 30 local gold traders to his camp and told them his men would shoot anyone selling food or other items for the KIA Battalion 14 camp, under Brigade 2.
A local, who requested anonymity, told KNG that Min Zin Thant was angry about the attack in Jahtu Zup along the Tanai-Lido road and had told the meeting participants that he would block the road to the camp by 1 June.
”He threatened to shoot at any vehicle using that road” and also to block all other major roads leading to the camp.
According to another villager, who also asked that his name not be mentioned, he explained that the KIA had curtailed gold mining in the area since October last year, but the PMF was still using the backhoes to mine the precious metal in Jahtu Zup. The KIA decided to take action against the PMF last autumn after residents complained of extortion and assault by its soldiers at checkpoints to the mining blocks.
The KIA’s political arm, the Kachin Independence Organisation, recently described the PMF as enemies along with Border Guard Forces and political parties that have accepted the military regime.