Several Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers were killed in regime airstrikes on Battalions 31 and 26 of Brigade 9 in Kachin State along the border with Sagaing Region and on Brigade 2 in Danai Township in Kachin State on 9 January.
Three fighter jets attacked the headquarters of Brigade 2 in Hugawng Valley three times around 6pm, according to an unnamed source close to the group. “I heard that a building was shelled, killing three KIA soldiers who were inside, one of them dying on the spot,” the man told KNG.
Two of the deceased were men and the other was a woman. At that time, the regime also shelled the Danai headquarters with artillery and some shells hit the nearby village of Lawt Awng.
Locals suspect that the junta’s attack was in retaliation after KIA Battalion 14 forced Danai gold miners to leave the area to stop the Jahtu Zup People’s Militia Force, led by Min Zin Thant and under the regime, from collecting taxes from the miners.
The regime air bombed KIA Battalion 26 in the Sel Zin area of Hpakant Township near Saigang Region at 4pm. “A fighter jet attacked us three times on the same day. Fortunately, no one was injured in the airstrikes,” a KIA officer told KNG without giving his name. The same fighter jet attacked Battalion 31, also part of Brigade 8, in the Khamti area.
In August last year, the KIA, supported by the People’s Defence Forces, fought regime troops in the Sel Zin area for about a week, during which the junta called in airstrikes.
In late September, the military used airstrikes against KIA Battalion 14 near Jahtu Zup village in the Hukawng Valley, forcing the KIA to abandon some of its camps.