On Monday, Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) troops captured the Burma army’s Infantry Battalion 123 base in Namphetka town, situated in Kutkai Township. KIA has been attacking the State Administration Council (SAC) soldiers in the town in northern Shan State since December 29.
A KIA front-line officer for Brigade-4 said that SAC has been flying airstrikes on his troops as they “clear the area”.”Our troops are in the battalion headquarters. We haven’t captured the whole headquarters,” he explained to KNG.
Col Naw Bu, the information officer for the KIA’s political wing, Kachin Independence Organisation, said fighting was intense in the Namphetka area but couldn’t elaborate more.
KIA’s Brigades 4, 5, and 10 carried out daily raids on SAC’s IB 123 soldiers for nearly 20 days, during which time the regime launched many airstrikes and artillery attacks. At least seven people were killed by an airstrike, and several civilians were injured in the township.
“Some civilians were killed by artillery and airstrikes. Some died from a stroke while hiding in their bunker during the airstrikes. I think there were about five people who died in their bunkers for various reasons,” a local source explained. He said many houses have been destroyed during SAC’s daily airstrikes and artillery attacks.
Namphetka village, with over 1,000 homes, is situated on the Union Highway between Kutkai and Muse. IB-123 had an artillery battalion deployed in the village.
With connectivity down in Kutkai Township, it poses obstacles to obtaining the testimonies of those who are impacted by the violence.
On December 20, KIA seized Nam Hkai Bridge, connecting Namphetka with Kutkai town. Residents from the area have sought refuge in Nam Oum, Temer, Hu Hpyet villages and the nearby jungle, where they have run out of food rations.
The Three Brotherhood Alliance, of which KIA is not a part but shares alliances with, has already seized what locals call the 105-mile Trade Zone in Muse Township and Namkham, and Kutkai towns.