Clashes Resume Between Tatmadaw and KIA

A KIA spokesperson says battles broke out in Myitkyina Township after government forces sent in troop reinforcements.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Battles reignited between government forces and troops from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) last week after nearly five months without clashes in Kachin State.

According to Col Naw Bu of the Kachin Independence Organization’s information department, armed clashes resumed in the Sinbo village area in Myitkyina Township on Thursday morning. The fighting broke out near a post held by the KIA’s Battalion No. 5, operating under Brigade 8, and lasted nearly half an hour.

According to Col Naw Bu, the government troops involved belonged to Light Infantry Battalions 251 and 159 operating under Brigade 101.

The KIO alleges that the Burma Army—or Tatmadaw—intentionally entered its territory and provoked the fighting.

While Kachin State has seen a break from clashes during the rainy season, fighting has regularly broken out in northern Shan State, Col Naw Bu explained.

“It is silent in many areas of Kachin State, but battles often occur in northern Shan State. Battles used to take place in KIA’s Brigade 4 and Brigade 6 control areas—especially in Brigade 4’s area,” he said.

Col Naw Bu added that government troop reinforcements had been sent specifically to the Sinbo area, and that the KIA was aware that battles could intensify any time after the end of the monsoon season, which typically lasts until late October or November.

“What I know is that government forces already sent their reinforcement troops into the Sinbo area. Their troops have yet to withdraw. So it’s difficult to predict their plan. If they won’t withdraw, it is sure that battles will take place in the area,” he said.

The KIA is a member of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed organizations and of the political alliance known as the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee.