Burmese Army Continues Sending More Troops to Kachin and Shan States Front Lines

Clashes have accelerated recently between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese army troops in Kachin state. In areas surrounding KIA’s administrative region and across Kachin state, Burmese army continues deploying more troops.

On May 7 at around 11 a.m., 8 Burmese military trucks each carrying around 20 troops were spotted heading from Myitkyina to Katsu in KIA’s administrative region. The previous day on May 6, Burmese army engineers were seen reportedly clearing the road with a backhoe en route to their base at Sadung Bum. On May 10 at around 2:20 p.m., six more Burmese army  military trucks from Myitkyina each carrying around 15 troops left for Katsu bringing in more reinforcements.

On May 11, following orders from the Northern Command, approximately 80 troops belonging to Burmese army 534th Light Infantry Regiment (LIR) and 1002nd Border Guard Forces(BGF) began setting up positions in Law Pum village in Shangaw region in KIA’s 3rd Battalion territory. The following day on May 12 at around 8:00 a.m., approximately 30 Burmese army and 10 BGF troops left for Kawng Ra village from their Law Pum base.

Again on May 12 morning in KIA’s 3rd Battalion area, a total of 7 Burmese army military trucks believed to be transporting ammunition and troops belonging to 105th Light Infantry Battalion(LID) heading their way to Katsu reached Num Lang. The KLN front-line sources are still confirming if they have come to replace the 321st LIR troops based at the Ta Hkaw river hydropower plant.

On May 10 in KIA’s 11th Battalion area, approximately 60 Ta Law Gyi-based Burmese troops belonging to 63rd LID led by Major Zin Ko Tun reportedly inspected and took several pictures of Pa Hpa bridge while the intent is still unknown.

Meanwhile on May 11 at around 9:50 p.m. in KIA’s 19th Battalion territory, the Alaw Bum-based Burmese army troops reportedly provoked KIA troops firing six 60 mm rounds, one round of 79 mm and two MG-42 rounds. No causalities have been reported by the KIA.

In southern Kachin State, KIA’s 12th and 27th Battalion areas troops keep monitoring any unusual Burmese army troops activities. The loggers and cattle traders continue going about their business smuggling goods to their Chinese clients across the border. And the Burmese  army troops continue collecting their regular ‘protection fees’ from the illegal merchants.

In western Kachin State on May 8 at around 8:30 a.m. in KIA’s 6th Battalion territory, the Chying Hkrang Sun-based Burmese army troops belonging to 259th LIB reportedly fired five rounds of heavy artillery towards areas surrounding Lawt Ja and Lawa.

Similarly on May 13 approximately at 1:00 a.m. in KIA’s 6th Battalion territory, the Shan Gap Bum-based Burmese army troops reportedly provoked KIA troops firing four 60 mm rounds towards KIA’s 4th Platoon positions. Additionally, the Gin Si Hkaw-based Burmese army troops belonging to 256th LIB fired eight 60 mm rounds towards KIA’s 3rd Platoon positions in areas surrounding Uru Hka Hku.

In eastern Kachin State, beginning May 7 the Dum Bang Zup-based Burmese army troops belonging to 534th LIR reportedly began harassing local passerby by questioning and interrogating them at will.

In northern Shan State, the Mung Ji-based Tactical Command Force commander Col. Myu Min Tan called a meeting mobilizing village leaders from villages surrounding Mung Ji on May 6. The Colonel reportedly issued an order to inform the Burmese troops if any weapons/ammunitions are found secretly kept in the villages. Should the army discovers such weapons/ammunitions, the village leaders will be jailed for failing to report, the Colonel threatened.

In Namtu Township, Burmese army-backed Man Yin-based Man Bang local militia group led by Du Mun Oo, reportedly began recruiting new members on May 9. Claiming the order directly came from the North Eastern Command, they took down over 200 names from Man Bang, Nam Bawng, Pin Nyang, Na Nan, Mung Bai, Hu Na, Kung Sar and Ban Hung villages. It is reported that even the names of Buddhist monks and older males over 50/60 years old are in the conscription list.

Beginning 6:00 a.m. on May 8, the TNLA troops belonging to 765th Battalion engaged Burmese army’s 88th LIB troops in Nam Jarap, Oi Law, Wing Bat and Man Jap.

On May 9, fierce battles took place between the TNLA troops based in Man Tset, Loi Hkun, Loi Hpyet and Nam Chyu areas and Burmese army troops belonging to 88th LID. Unsurprisingly, the Burmese army troops reportedly suffered heavy losses. In retaliation on the same day, two Burmese army attack helicopters attacked Nam Hkun village twice.