Fierce Fighting Continues in Western Kachin State

Fierce fighting continues between KIA’s 6th Battalion troops and a combined force of Burmese army troops from 102nd Light Infantry Battalion (LIB), 472nd Light Infantry Regiment (LIR), 388th LIR, 389th LIR under 7th Military Operations Command and Pyitutsits (Burmese army-backed local Red Shan militia) in Lunghkang Township in western Kachin State.

A series of battles took place on Monday as Burmese army troops fired several mortar rounds on KIA positions beginning early in the morning, reported KIA source. The latest encounter between the two sides was reported at around 1:30 pm on Monday.

On May 8, the two sides engaged in 4 battles in Naw Lang Dabang, Mai Sa Hka and Awng Len Cemetery beginning 6 am. The battles began early Sunday morning as Burmese army troops currently stationed at Sang Hka fired several mortar rounds on KIA positions followed by ground troops’ advance towards KIA frontline posts. According to the KIA source, its troops evacuated from two frontline posts, Awng Len and Lawq La, on May 8.

At least two battles took place between KIA’s 6th Battalion troops and a combined force of Burmese army troops from 388th LIR, 389th LIR and Pyitutsits on May 7 at Naw Lang Dabang and Nam Jan.

Meanwhile, more Burmese army troops from Mogaung-based 3rd Military Operations Command and Kamaing have arrived in Lung Hkang area.

The latest attacks on KIA positions by Burmese army began on May 5 after Northern Regional Military Command asked the KIA to release 7 men arrested on drug trafficking and usage charges in Hpakant area. KIA’s 6th Battalion officers agreed to Burmese army’s demand and released the 7 men last week. But the men were snatched by Pyitutsits in Nam Mya on the way to a police station and the attacks on KIA’s positions followed.

Tu Ring, a local military observer, said Burmese army already had a plan for a long time to attack KIA’s 6th Battalion positions and the arrest of 7 men is just an excuse to carry out its plan. KIA’s 6th Battalion headquarters had been overrun at least twice for similar invalid reasons since the renewed war began, he said.

In northern Shan State, KIA’s 2nd Battalion troops fought an unknown Burmese army unit near Manje village in Mung Si on May 8 at 3:30 pm.