The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) killed scores of Burma Army (BA) soldiers occupying a village in Katha Township on Monday, after which the regime retaliated by torching homes and jet bombing the area in Sagaing Region.
BA soldiers have been staying in people’s homes and the Buddhist monastery in Bang Bwe since Friday. The residents, who were warned of the approaching soldiers, were all able to escape unharmed before arriving at their village in the Kyauk Htong Gyi area.
According to a Katha PDF officer, two fighter jets dropped five bombs around Bang Bwe at 11am, two hours after his soldiers and the KIA and Kyauk Htong Gyi PDF had attacked for three hours. Four PDF fighters suffered minor injuries in the clash.
”The BA sent about 40 soldiers from Katha town to support their soldiers at the scene of the clash, and they began burning people’s houses after they arrived. Many witnessed huge clouds of smoke rising from the village. They burnt down many houses in the village.”
BA Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 309 shelled Bang Bwe with artillery from Katha town, but none of the shells hit the village, according to a local who wished to remain anonymous. Three shells, however, landed in nearby Thit Phyu, killing four people, he said.
LIB 309 and Infantry Battalion 121 have been aggressively patrolling east and west of the Irrawaddy River in the township since early August. About a fortnight ago, the KIA and the PDF attacked six flotillas carrying troops, weapons, equipment and food on the river from Mandalay to Bhamo.