In the last two months, the Warazup People’s Militia Force (PMF) has abducted eight Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers from Hukawng Valley in Kachin State. However, the Burma army’s proxy group led by U Min Zin Thant claims that two of the KIA soldiers surrendered to their forces.
Their Telegram channel said the men, who were carrying two assault rifles and 50 rounds of ammunition, gave themselves up. “We forgive them and are treating the two KIA soldiers well after they surrendered to us,” the PMF wrote.
A local who spoke to KNG on condition of anonymity said he didn’t know if they surrendered or not but one of the KIA soldiers was Zau Hsan Awng (30) from Warazup. He did not know the name of the other, but said the soldier was from Jahtuzup. The men were reportedly abducted between the sit-tat (Burma army) Infantry Battalion 297 camp and Hkawng Lor Creek on 9 June and are still in PMF custody.
Another anonymous man said the armed group detained six KIA soldiers from Battalions 14, 43 and 45 of Brigade 2 in the first two weeks of May and released some of them, but he didn’t specify how many. The soldiers were travelling between Warazup and Jahtuzup at the time.
Since the beginning of the year, the PMF has also arrested residents of Warazup, Jahtuzup, Awng Ra, Bankok and Sanpya along the Tanai – Lido road, accusing them of being linked to the KIA.
At least 10 people were abducted in April. Some were released after interrogation, while others had to pay bribes ranging from $950 to $2,400 for their freedom, locals told KNG. The PMF tortured some of them.
The sit-tat and the PMF’s increased activities in the township is putting pressure on the KIA and limiting the Kachin armed group’s ability to fight back, say residents.