Battles Rage in Kachin and Northern Shan State

Battles rage in Kachin and northern Shan State between Kachin Independence Army and Burmese Army despite ongoing ceasefire talks between Ethnic Armed Organizations’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team and officials from Myanmar Peace Center and Union Peace-making Work Committee.

KIA troops have fought a series of battles with Burmese Army troops in Hsenwi Township (Theinni in Burmese), Kut Kai Township, Muse Township, and Nam Hkam Township in northern Shan State on Thursday, Jan 29.

A battle took place between KIA’s 9th Battalion troops led by Maj. Nhku La Ring and an unknown Burmese army column at Man Bang village in Kut Kai Township, northern Shan State at 6 am. A KIA source said 5 Burmese army soldiers were wounded in this battle.

Another battle took place on the same day near Hu Na village between KIA’s 36th Battalion troops and Burmese army’s 504th Light Infantry Regiment (LIR) troops in Kut Kai Township at around 8 am. No casualties have been reported from either side on this battle.

KIA’s 9th Battalion troops fought against an unknown Burmese army column at Je Lan village, located on the road between Muse and Nam Hkam, at 12 pm. The battle lasted for about an hour and KLN was unable to confirm casualties from either side.

Burmese army troops under 77th Light Infantry Division (LID) launched an attack on KIA’s 8th Battalion Bang Kang Post in Hsenwi Township at around 2:30 pm.

A combined force of Burmese army troops from 68th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB), 323th LIR and 568th LIR attacked KIA’s 9th Battalion headquarters at Man Kang Bum in Kut Kai Township at around 3 pm.

On Jan 28, a section of Kachin volunteer troops under KIA’s 4th Brigade encountered an unknown Burmese army column at a location between Hu La and Man Bung village in Mung Paw area at around 8:30 am.

Another battle took place between the 4th Section of Kachin volunteer troops under KIA’s 4th Brigade and Burmese army troops under Hsenwi-based Burmese army’s 16th Military Operations Command near Sai Hkau village in Mung Paw area on Jan 28 at around 10 am.

KIA troops under 2nd Brigade battled about 50 Burmese army troops from 521st LIR under 661st Tactical Operations Command near Ka Maing Cemetery in western Kachin State on Jan 28 at 5:45 pm.  No casualties have been reported in the battle lasted for about an hour.

Burmese army’s Ma U Pin-based 80th Light Infantry Battalion fired 60 mm artillery shells for 3 times on Kachin volunteer troops position at Jan Mai Bum in Ma U Pin area on Jan 28 at 2:40 pm, reported a local source.

KIA’s ally Ta-ang National Liberation Army’s (TNLA) 478th Battalion also fought against Burmese army troops under 88th LID at Man Pan village in Nam Hkam Township on Jan 27. Another battle took place between TNLA troops and Burmese army-backed Pan Se militia troops near Man Pan village on the same day. A TNLA source says its troops encountered Burmese army troops for 3 times in Pan Se area in Nam Hkam Township on Jan 25-26.

Local sources say further reinforcements have arrived during this week in western Kachin State. At least 14 Burmese army trucks departed from Bhamo towards Loi Ying and Myo Thit on Jan 29. Burmese army troops from 321st LIR led by Maj. Hein Htet Aung arrived in Man Kin village on Jan 28.

About 40 Burmese army’s 80th LIB troops led by Maj. Hein Myint Htun occupied Loi Seng village’s Prayer Mountain on Jan 29 and currently stationed on top of the mountain. Burmese army’s 521st LIR troops led by Lt. Col Aung Lwi arrived in Chyau Kang Hka Hku in Ka Maing Township on Jan 28 and currently stationed at Htoi San Yang monastery.  Burmese army’s 126th LIB troops led by Lt. Col. Aung Myint Tin entered Sum Bwi Yang village on Jan 28 at around 9 am, reported local sources.

Meanwhile, about 1000 villagers who have been trapped in Gin Si Seng Ra village are not allowed to go outside by Burmese army’s 66th LID troops. Locals said 66th LID troops threatened them to go back to Aung Ba Le or their homes will be torched. 66th LID troops also threatened to block aid if villagers do not return to their villages.