Airstrikes Target KIA In Hpakant Township

The regime flew airstrikes against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) Battalion 14 in what could of have been a retaliatory attack four days after the armed group introduced restrictive measures in the Warazup area along the Lido Road in Hpakant Township.

“A jet fighter dropped five bombs while another fighter jet monitored the situation on the ground. Villagers of Jahtuzup village heard the loud explosions as the bombs went off on the ground (near Ja Wang and Lod Ja), but no KIA soldier was injured in the airstrikes,” said a man who wished to remain anonymous.

Last week, KIA Battalion 14 warned against illegal fishing, working in farms, gold mining with large machinery and living in Ja Wang, Kai Taw and Lod Jain in Warazup village tract without any valid reason.

Another anonymous local said that hostilities between the KIA and the PMF were escalating again after a brief standoff. He said KIA troops torched an excavator belonging to gold miner Daw Phyu Phyu Aung at a mine in Kai Taw, which is in the Warazup People’s Militia Force’s (PMF) area of control. The woman is doing business with the group’s leader, U Min Zin Thant, who’s working with the regime in Kachin State.

“I heard that KIA soldiers also abducted labourers working at the gold mine. They were later released. But I think the PMF reported it to the Burma army and it is why the jet fighters attacked the area where the KIA soldiers live.”

After the KIA issued its warning, some mine owners, workers and farmers have left Ja Wang, Kai Taw and Lod Ja areas and returned to Jahtuzup, Awng Ra and San Pya. They’re facing many difficulties because they can no longer work, they say.

The second source says that PMF soldiers harass people at the checkpoints in San Pya and Awng Ra, posing a risk for those trying to leave. At an improvised checkpoint set up next to a grocery shop in San Pya, soldiers stop all vehicles and demand money.

Since the coup, the PMF has gained control of the Warazup/Jahtuzup region, leading to frequent clashes with the KIA. The junta’s proxy group has attacked the KIA with drones.

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