Regime reinforcements ambushed as fight for Tamakhan military camp intensifies

Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) soldiers ambushed a column of BA reinforcements as the fight for control of the Burma Army’s (BA) Infantry Battalion 119 (IB-119) camp in Tamakhan village continues to intensify. The fight for the military camp in Tamakhan village has been on-going since 26 February, according to a KIA officer.

On 3 March, a combined force of KIA and PDF ambushed a column of BA reinforcements being sent to Tamakhan village. The BA column was ambushed near Maw Lon village of Hawng Per village-tract in Hpakant Township. The BA column included soldiers from IB-12, IB-42 and IB-76.

Following the ambush, the BA column entered Tamakhan village and started setting fire to civilian houses.

A KIA officer, who is deployed at the front line, said that the KIA and PDF engaged in gunfire fight with the BA and allied forces in Tamakhan village at around 6 a.m. on 4 March.

“BA soldiers, Shanni army and Pyusawhtee PMF burned some civilian houses in the village yesterday. Our KIA troops encircled them and attacked them in the village. Clashes broke out around 6 a.m. today. We know they suffered some causalities during the clash because we saw them moving some injured soldiers from the clash location. It’s still unknown how many BA soldiers were killed during the battle,” the KIA officer told KNG.

The KIA officer said that KIA and PDF surrounded the village and attacked Burma army, Shanni army and Pyusawhtee PMF because they burned civilian houses in the village.

On 26 February, KIA and PDF troops attacked the BA’s IB-119, which is based in Tamakhan village. Clashes escalated in the area since then, and the BA has sent reinforcement troops to Tamakhan. The KIA and PDF attacked the Burma army’s reinforcement troops inside Tamakhan village.

BA troops have already burned down two-thirds of civilian houses in Tamakhan village. The majority of damaged houses are located in the middle section of the village.

Local people report that when villagers attempted to extinguish fires burning in the village the military council prevented villagers from doing it.

“Villagers told us that they would extinguish fires in their village, so we allowed people and fire-fighting trucks to enter the village. But the BA didn’t allow them to do it and threatened to kill them. Therefore, villagers are afraid to return to their village and the fires continue to burn houses in the village,” the KIA officer told KNG.

The BA has continuously launched airstrikes in Tamakhan since 27 February because Burma army doesn’t want to lose its military camp, according to the KIA officer. He said that two jet fighters attacked KIA and PDF positions in Tamakhan village this morning.

The KIA and PDF have continued to encircle the Burma army’s military camp in Tamakhan. The KIA and PDF have already seized the Tamakhan police station, but they have yet to capture the IB-119 camp.

More than 5,000 local people have fled the clashes in Tamakhan village. Most have taken shelter in Hawng Per village-tract. Some IDPs have sought refuge in Buddhist monasteries, schools and Christian Churches in Hpakant town. These IDP need humanitarian aid including food rations and medicine.

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