Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Heavy fighting has continued between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops and Burmese Army troops during one of the Burma’s most important Thingyan (Water Festival) holidays in Kachin State.
Burmese Army’s 223rd Light Infantry Battalion troops on Tuesday attacked and seized a KIA frontline post located near Chyari Dagaw in Momauk Township at 6:15 am. This is the second time the KIA post has been seized by Burmese Army troops.
KIA troops have launched a series of bomb attacks against army convoys headed towards KIA controlled territory. The KIA says these attacks are being made as Burmese Army incursion into KIA territory in southern Kachin State deepens, and attacks against KIA positions there are being made almost daily.
On the morning of April 13, KIA roadside bombs destroyed 2 trucks of a 7-truck Burmese Army convoy headed for Sinlum from Bhamo, near Hka Wan Bang village. Another bomb attack was made against Burmese Army troops advancing towards Dagaw on April 14. On April 15, a 5-truck army convoy headed towards Muse from Kutkai, along the Nam Hkam Road in Shan State, was attacked near Nam Hpalun Mountain. The convoy was on its way to reinforce army troops in the KIA 3rd Brigade area.
Casualties from these attacks are unknown.
A local analyst says Burmese Army’s latest offensives against KIA are intended to have complete control over KIA’s Bang Hkam gate and Nam Wan/Nchawn bridge which are important for cross-border trade coupled with an earlier controversy stemming from the nationwide census. The Nam Wan/Nchawn bridge is one of the main thoroughfare that connects southern Kachin State and China’s Yunnan province.
KIA’s 27th Battalion headquarter is located at Bang Hkam village. According to an aid worker, Bang Hkam gate has fallen into the hands of 88th Light Infantry Division (LID) troops and those government soldiers are reported to have started collecting money from local sugarcane farmers crossing the border.