KIO Calls For Withdrawal of Troops and Heavy Artillery from Hka Ya Bum

Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) Central Committee on Thursday issued a statement calling for withdrawal of Burmese army troops and heavy artillery positioned along Hka Ya Bum mountain range.

“KIO Central Committee have met several times with Union Peace-making Work Committee hoping to find political solution through negotiations. The two sides agreed for reduction in armed hostilities and to build mutual trust in the meeting held on May 13, 2014,” the statement says. It further says that “KIO Central Committee have participated in all the efforts to achieve a nationwide ceasefire accord that will lead to political dialogues”.

The statement says Burmese military escalated planned attacks on KIA posts and positions while the two sides have engaged in negotiations.

“Burmese army units stationed along Hka Ya Bum fired artillery into Officer Training School located near KIO headquarters killing 23 officer cadets and wounded 20 other cadets and trainers,” it says. “KIO Central Committee strongly objects the planned November 19 attack on Officer Training School while the two sides are holding monthly meetings to reduce tension.”

The latest artillery attack that killed 22 officers cadets on Wednesday comes after a recent visit of Maj. General Myint Soe of Bureau of Special Operations 1 who oversees Burmese army’s operations in Kachin State, Sagaing Division and Mandalay Division.

Lt. Gen Myint Soe reportedly visited Bum Re Bum, Hpunpyen Bum and Hka Ya Bum, from where Burmese army fired 105 mm mortar shell, in the first week of November.

Wednesday artillery attack on KIA’s Officer Training School is one of the three artillery attacks launched by Burmese army around the same time on the same day.

Burmese army’s 389th Light Infantry Regiment troops fired artillery on KIA 23rd Battalion’s Lang Ta Post on Wednesday at 12:30 pm.

Another artillery attack comes from Burmese army’s 386th Light Infantry Regiment (LIR) troops currently stationed at Dum Bang Bum. Burmese troops fired artillery on a KIA special unit responsible for the security of Laiza headquarters.

Battles continue to rage in other parts of Kachin State. A battle took place between Kachin volunteer troops under KIA’s 26th Battalion and Burmese army’s 6th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) troops at Mai Nawng on Nov 19 at 4 am. One KIA soldier died in this battle and four others were reported missing.

KIA’s 253rd Mobile Battalion troops on the same day fought against Burmese army’s 384th LIB at a location between Nhkram Post and Sama Nhkram in south eastern Kachin State at around 8 am.