On Monday, at least six regime soldiers were wounded at a roadblock in Hpakant by a drone strike in the township in Kachin State. About thirty soldiers were inspecting vehicles and motorists’ phones at a checkpoint when the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defence Force (PDF) launched the attack outside Seng Ra at around 2pm, a local familiar with the incident told KNG on condition of anonymity.
“After the drone attack, they immediately retreated from Seng Ra” and returned to Hpakant town. The man heard that the soldiers continued to frisk travellers at other checkpoints in the township, but had no knowledge of any arrests. The regime increased checkpoints around the township in recent weeks.
Resistance groups across Burma have turned to using drones to attack the regime.
Last week in Hpakant, the KIA and PDF used landmines to attack an army truck between the villages of Kayin Chaung and Thaung Kawt, followed by an exchange of fire.
Since the bombing of a concert in October, which killed nearly a hundred people in A Nang Pa, the regime has stepped up attacks on villages and abducted civilians as human shields in the township. It has blocked trucks transporting rice and fuel to Hpakant, entered people’s homes to check their household registries and targeted mining companies and other businesses paying the KIA and the PDF to operate in the area.
“The army wants to weaken the KIA by creating difficulties for them, so they’re banning jade mining companies suspected of having links with the KIA” to reduce the taxes the armed groups can collect from mines, a local told KNG on condition of anonymity. This also affects tax revenues from construction projects, businesses and vehicles transporting goods into the area.