Hoping to end the fighting that’s made their lives a nightmare, villagers met with military leaders of the Burma Army (BA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and asked them to stop the fighting near Jahtu Zup on the Lido Road in Hpakant Township, which began several months ago.
“Local people want to live peacefully in their village. They don’t want violence!” a villager from Jahtu Zup, who wished to remain anonymous, told KNG. He said they’re fed up with the clashes and called on the armed groups to resolve their dispute peacefully.
Last week, religious and village leaders and elderly people from Jahtu Zup, Awng Ra and San Pya met separately with both sides. Villagers from Jahtu Zup sent a letter to KIA Brigade 2 headquarters and BA Regional Operations Command in Tanai demanding a cessation of fighting.
At the time of press, neither the KIA nor the BA responded to the villagers’ demands.
Because of the conflict, “some senior citizens and children have already moved to a safer place. Locals are concerned about the clashes in their area. Several businessmen involved in gold mining have already abandoned their mines near Jahtu Zup,” said another local also requesting anonymity.
For three months, KIA Brigade 2 (Battalion 14) has been at war in the area with the BA and the Warazup People’s Militia Force (PMF), which is under the regime. Min Zin Thant leads the PMF, which is also called San Pya PMF or Jahtu Zup PMF because the group has three camps in each of the villages.
On 11 August, KIA Battalion 14 attacked the PMF camp in San Pya village but failed to capture it. Over 4,000 people have fled the fighting between the groups and junta shelling around the village, including more than 300 miners from 20 gold mining blocks.