Fighting has been escalating between the Burma Army and some outposts under the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) Brigade 3, 4, 5, and 6. On Wednesday (18 January), the Burma Army seized the location of Battalion 12 under KIA’s 3rd Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel Joon Awng, commanding officer of Battalion 12, confirmed that their base camp has been seized by the Burma Army on 18 January.
“They entered around 10 am yesterday (Wednesday). We fought for five or six days. We withdrew back a little because they attacked using elephants and aircrafts. They could only enter two or three days after we set our old base camp on fire,” he said.
“They have been launching offensives since 10 a.m. yesterday and up to now. They (the Burma Army) have LID-88 and other battalions. I think they have five or six battalions. We heard that there are military troops in Lwal-Kham, Bar-Fan, and Nam-Lin-Pa area. We also heard that more troops are entering along the Rulli River. It seems to be like territorial control. Battalion 27 and 12 are camped between Nam-Lin-Pa and Ma-Gyi-Gone so it seems like they are setting up a base in the area they have launched offensives,” he continued.
Skirmishes are still breaking out in Nam-Lin-Pa, Nam-Dat, Saga, and Hkalen outposts in the KIA Battalion 12-controlled area.
The Office of the Burma Army’s Commander-in-Chief announced that fighting has been escalating between the Burma Army and the KIA recently and the Burma Army seized the base on Wednesday after using ground attacks as well as air and artillery attacks since 13 January.
The casualty list for both armies is unknown at the moment.
Man-Kaung, Lwal-Kham, Bar-Fan, and Nam-Maw villages are located near the seized base and the safety of the villagers is a matter of concern, Lieutenant Colonel Joon Awng added.
Politics and peace observers claimed that the Burma Army’s strong offensives against the KIA seems as if it is pressuring them to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).
“Many people believe it is an act of military pressure to accept and sign the regulations set down by the government in the NCA. Many people believe the government will pressure the KIA to sign the NCA, which has been upheld by the Burma Army, without amending it. It’s possible. But I don’t think there will be good results if the pressure is being given. It will only cause the fighting to escalate,” said U Maung Maung Soe, an observer of Burma’s politics and peace.
Since mid-December last year, the Burma Army has seized KIA’s strategic outposts, Gidon and La Hpawng, and nearby smaller outposts and it has continued attacking the KIA bases up to today.
Translated by Thida Linn