Battles Rage As More Burmese Army Troops Deployed

Daily battles continue to rage between Burmese Army and ethnic armies such as KIA, TNLA, and MNDAA (Kokang) in northern Shan State as the time to transfer power to NLD-led government is getting closer.

Burmese Army has deployed over 3000 soldiers from 11th, 33rd, 66th, 77th, 88th, 99th Light Infantry Divisions in northern Shan State since the last week of February.

According to ground sources, there have been minimal armed encounters between Burmese Army and KIA troops despite Burmese army’s continuing encroachment into ethnic armies-controlled territories in northern Shan State. A KIA source in northern Shan State said they tried their best to avoid armed clashes as KIA leaders have concerns over delicacy of transition period.

Fighting between TNLA and Burmese Army is fiercer in Kyauk Me, Nam Kham and Nam Tu Township. Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) source said its troops encountered Burmese Army troops 4 times on Tuesday alone. The two sides fought near Sa Paing village, Pan Law village, and Loi Kham village in Kyauk Me Township, and near Hpa Pyan village in Nam Kham Township.

In a battle that took place between Pa Hlaing village and Kyauk Phyu village in Kyauk Me Township on March 7, Burmese Army provided close air support to its ground troops to attack TNLA troops, reported TNLA’s Information Department.

In western Kachin State, a battle took place between KIA’s 14th Battalion and Burmese Army’s 238th Light Infantry Battalion troops near Kadi Hka confluence in Danai Township on Tuesday at 3:30 pm. The battle lasted for half an hour and no casualty information is available. KIA source said tension rises between the two sides as Burmese Army officers asked KIA’s 6th Battalion to withdraw from some frontline posts in Hpakant Township.

In northern Shan State, KIA’s 8th Battalion troops fought Burmese Army troops under 99th LID near Nam Sung village in Nam Tu Township on March 4. KIA troops were conducting opium poppies eradication when they encountered Burmese army troops, reported a KIA frontline source. The two sides again battled at Ding Gri in Nam Tu Township on March 6 at 10:30 am. No casualties have been reported in the battle lasted for about 2 hours.

Several skirmishes took place between KIA troops (2nd Battalion and 9th Battalion) and Burmese Army troops in Kutkai Township in northern Shan State last week. KIA’s 38th Battalion troops also encountered a combined force of Burmese Army troops in Muse Township last week.