Rumours Spread About KIO/KIA Attack on Myitkyina

After State Administration Council (SAC) cut off connectivity in Kachin State almost two weeks ago, fake news has been circulating about Kachin Independence Organisation/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) informing United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) that it will attack Myitkyina.

According to the rumours, in the second week of November, UNDSS stated that the Kachin armed group, whose Laiza headquarters, which is being air-bombed by SAC forces 105 km south of Myitkyina, will soon attack the Kachin State town.

As the rumour goes, KIO/KIA will first attack near Kyet Poung Chan, Rampu, Lel Kon, Nan Kwe, Aye Mya Thayar, and Shan villages, and next Tatkon, Dukahtawng, Thida, and Sitapru wards of the town where KIA troops are already infiltrating. UNDSS allegedly urged residents to flee.

KIO/KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu has denied this information, stating, “We didn’t inform UNDSS or any other organisation about it. It’s just someone trying to create fear-mongering,” and explaining that the armed group is investigating the matter.

The fake news has instilled fear in the community, with many people hoarding food, and parents keeping their children at home rather than sending them to school. Many in the town are remaining indoors out of fear after the news began to spread.

While KIA and People Defence Force have seized some towns from SAC in Sagaing Region as well as bases in that area and in Kachin State, they have not attacked Myitkyina or given any indication they will do so.

An anonymous Kachin political analyst said capturing the capital would be fraught with difficulties due to the many SAC camps located in the town. “KIO/KIA cannot seize Waingmaw and Dawt Hpung Yang, on the Myitkyina – Bhamo highway. As these are the nearest towns to KIO/KIA headquarters, it would be difficult to attack Myitkyina (without capturing them).”

SAC has declared martial law in Kachin State and enacted a curfew, including in Myitkyina, where it is bolstering its troops.

An anonymous local source close to the Burma army told KNG that after SAC’s air force was attacked, more soldiers have been deployed to the airport and around the Irrawaddy River. He said families of military personnel are not allowed to leave the base at night.

“Currently, Northern Military Command’s headquarters in Myitkyina and Infantry Battalion 58 in Waingmaw have made preparations to defend these towns. Soldiers from PMF (People’s Militia Force) have joined them, and the soldiers are conducting nightly patrols where they’re making arrests.”

Soldiers have been inspecting civilians in Dukahtawng, N’jang Dong, Yan Gyi Aung, Shwe Sett, and Palana wards in Myitkyina. The source couldn’t say how many people were detained.

Another anonymous source from Myitkyina heard that soldiers might be arresting people for violating the curfew, but if it is true he didn’t know how many people have been detained or when because cellular services have been suspended. He suggested that if it is true, SAC could be planning to use them as human shields to ward off attacks by resistance forces.

The political analyst said that although “news has spread that KIO/KIA will come to Myitkyina, whatever it is, people shouldn’t leave their homes at night” because they could be arrested or even shot by SAC soldiers.

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