Fierce battles continued between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese Army in Sumpra Bum Township as Ethnic Armed Organizations’ Senior Delegation and Burmese government’s representatives met to discuss Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) in Yangon.
A battle took place between KIA’s 7th Battalion troops and Burmese Army’s 381st, 385th, and 389th Light Infantry Regiments under Mogaung-based 3rd Military Operations Command (MOC-3) near Sumpyi Yang village on July 22 at 11 am. KIA source said at least three government soldiers including deputy commander of 385th LIR were wounded during the battle.
The two sides have been engaged in almost daily fights this week in Sumpra Bum area. KIA’s 7th Battalion troops engaged in a battle against Burmese Army troops at Nhkri Yang on July 21. Another battle took place at Lung Sha Yang on July 20. The two sides encountered near Htingbai village on July 19.
KIA source said Burmese Army’s Light Infantry Battalions (29th, 38th, 58th, 81st, 137th, 138th, 266th) and Light Infantry Regiments (381st, 385th, 389th) from Putao, Myitkyina, Mogaung and Chin State are currently deployed along Putao-Myitkyina-Sumpra Bum road since Burmese Army launched an attack on KIA positions on June 24-25. Troops from Myitkyina, Mogaung and Chin State were transported to Putao by air and traveled down to Sumpra Bum area by motorboats as the rain blocks motor roads.
About 1500 villagers including 271 school children and 24 teachers from Mali Yang, Lot Mai Yang, Jara Yang, Nhtan Zup, Hpung Ing Yang, and Sama Bum village have been displaced by recent fighting in Mali Yang area. Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) ministers requested Kachin State government and Northern Regional Command to allow them to help IDPs but denied access to Mali Yang area by motorboats, the only option to reach to IDPs.
In northern Shan State, KIA’s 9th Battalion troops fought Burmese Army troops under 99th Light Infantry Division at Hu Hpyet Man Nawng village in Kutkai Township on July 20 at 9:45 am. The two sides encountered again in the afternoon and battled until 3:20 pm.
Col. Zau Tawng, KIA’s tactical commander, said Burmese Army’s military operations in Mali Yang area are intended to drive KIA troops west of the Mali river. “They want to restart a dam project that was suspended in 2011 at Laza, located 9 miles from Mali Yang,” He said. ”Burmese authorities want access to Putao and Khaung Lan Phu to extract natural resources and KIA’s 7th Battalion is an obstacle for them.” Asia World company was awarded dam building projects along the Irrawaddy river including a dam in Laza by former military junta led by Senior General Than Shwe.