Battles Intensify in Southern Kachin State

Battles continue to rage between KIA’s 12th Battalion troops and a combined force of Burmese Army’s 56th and 86th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) troops at Nam Lim Pa, La Ait Bum and Nam Hpalang Bum in Mansi Township on May 23.

Burmese Army troops fired several artillery rounds on KIA’s 12th Battalion positions at La Ait Bum followed by ground forces’ assault at 8:10 am. One KIA officer and 3 soldiers were killed by artillery shells, reported KIA frontline source. The two sides fought again in the afternoon at Nam Lim Pa and Nam Hpalang Bum.

On May 24, KIA’s 12th Battalion troops ambushed about 50 Burmese Army reinforcement troops from 437th Light Infantry Regiment on the road between Manta and Mong Hta, and struck an army truck at around 7:45 am.

The two sides have been engaged in a series of battles for several days in Mansi Township. The Burmese Air Force fighters bombed KIA’s 1st and 12th Battalion positions to support ground forces’ assaults.

Burmese Army troops first entered KIA’s 12th Battalion area under the pretext of stopping illegal logging activities in last March. Despite a convoy of log trucks laden with logs from Sagaing and Mandalay Division had been stopped and some Chinese nationals were detained in prison, Burmese Army troops from 15th LIB, 56th LIB, 86th LIB, 142nd LIB, 321st LIR and 601st LIR continued their presence in KIA’s 12th Battalion area in Nam Lim Pa, Kawng Ra, and Magyeng.

KIO officials and local observers said Burmese Army has more intentions than just stopping illegal logging and trading activities, to occupy the area and build permanent bases.