The Military Council has been striving to gain control of the Namsan Yang area from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), situated near the de facto headquarters of its political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), in Kachin State since the end of July. Despite deploying multiple columns from Myitkyina and Bhamo, the regime has suffered numerous casualties in clashes around the villages of Dawt Hpung Yang, Awng Ja, Hkalar, and Madee Yang. As a significant number of junta soldiers find themselves trapped by the KIA, unable to advance or retreat, the Military Council is reportedly employing airlifts to provide reinforcement to Bhamo. Additionally, they are sending troops and supplies via boats. Recently, the KIA has recently taken control of an enemy camp in Hpakant Township. KNG talked with KIO spokesperson Col Naw Bu to gain insight into the ongoing situation on the ground.
Could you tell us about the Burma army’s military movements in Kachin State?
To the best of my knowledge, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing has dispatched the People’s Militia Force (PMF) to Kachin State. The Burma army trained PMF soldiers in Muse, Tarmoenye, and Namphetka in northern Shan State. The Burma army sent PMF soldiers to Mandalay. Subsequently, they transported them to Bhamo by airplane. I do not know the exact number of PMF soldiers they deployed to Bhamo. However, I am certain that the Military Council is using these soldiers to fight with resistance groups, signifying a weakening of its position.
What about the Burma army’s activity in Bhamo? Have they deployed more troops to the Namsan Yang area?
Presently, the Burma army has already dispatched soldiers, weaponry, and food provisions to Bhamo. Some of these troops originate from Shan State. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Burma army military columns will arrive at Namsan Yang via boats. Additionally, the columns are also advancing from Bhamo via land routes. At present, soldiers, weaponry, and food provisions have reached the town. As far as our information goes, the Burma army has sealed off all entry roads in Bhamo. It is likely that these soldiers will proceed to the Namsan Yang area.
The Burma army started an offensive operation in the Namsan Yang area in July. Could you provide an update on the current situation?
Several Burma army columns have become trapped in the Madee Yang and Awng Ja areas for over a month. They are immobilised and unable to make any advancements. It is possible that they might attempt an escape if additional troops from Bhamo are dispatched to rescue them. Currently, we are mounting heavy weaponry and drone attacks against them. They are unable to counter our actions. We have received reports indicating that at least 80 Burma army soldiers were killed in that area.
Can you elaborate on the situation in Kachin State over the past two months?
Indeed, clashes have taken place in the Namsan Yang area. Burma army military columns have been ensnared in this area, resulting in over 80 Burma army soldiers being killed within the span of two months. Fierce battles have also erupted in the Sel Zin area within Hpakant Township. Burma army jet fighters mistakenly dropped bombs on their own troops in that area. I estimate that more than 30 soldiers, including officers, lost their lives due to airstrikes in the Sel Zin area. To summarise, clashes have led to the deaths of more than 100 enemy soldiers in the past two months.
Could you update us on the situation in the Hpakant area?
Battalions under Light Infantry Division 33 have initiated clearance operations in the area.
What are your thoughts on whether clashes will escalate in Kachin State in the future?
I anticipate that clashes will intensify in Kachin State. Among the ethnic armed organisations, the Karen National Union, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, Chinland Defense Force, Chin National Army, and Kachin Independence Organization have primarily confronted the Military Council. Intense battles broke out in Karen State during the past year. As a result, the Burma army might shift their focus to this region, Kachin State. If they launch an attack on us, we will respond with strong defensive measures. Consequently, it is probable that fierce battles will unfold in Kachin State. Yet, we remain committed to protecting our people. Despite the challenges and hardships, we will persist in our fight against the military junta and stand united with the people in our struggle.