Burma Army Clashes With KIA, TNLA During Unilateral Ceasefire

The fighting with both groups occurred in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Burma Army clashed with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) on Tuesday, despite a unilateral ceasefire declared by the military until April.

KIA information department in-charge Col Naw Bu confirmed the fighting to NMG, but said that he had yet to receive a detailed report on the incident.

“From civilian sources, KIA battalion No. 8 under Brigade 4 defended itself against an attack by the Burma Army. The clash lasted a few minutes,” he said.

According to Col. Naw Bu, the clashes occurred in a KIA-controlled area in Kutkai Township, northern Shan State.

The TNLA’s information department reported that the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Division 99 had clashed with TNLA forces on Mangpon mountain near Mong Hom village, also in Kutkai Township, and also on March 5.

According to a TNLA report released on March 6, the group has clashed with government troops five times in 2019, which also falls during the unilateral ceasefire period. The KIA has reportedly had three clashes with the Burma Army during this time.

Col Naw Bu pointed out that there have been no clashes in Kachin State, and that the three that have occurred were in northern Shan State.

“We had clashes with the Burma Army in the areas in which KIA Battalion No. 8 and 9 are active,” he said.

NMG called the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team to obtain comment on the reports of fighting, but no one answered the phone. There were no reports on the clashes from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, on the office’s website.

The Burma Army announced a four-month unilateral ceasefire on December 21, 2018. The military declared it would halt military operations in five command regions, including where the KIA and TNLA are based.

Yet while military operations stopped and clashes have temporarily decreased, there has been no agreement about the demarcation of territory between the Burma Army and ethnic armed organizations in these areas. KIA representatives say that this contributes to the frequency of confrontations.

The KIA signed a ceasefire with the government in 1994, but it broke down in 2011. Fighting has been ongoing since that time.

Both the KIA and the TNLA are members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups. They have not signed the government’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, but have been in recent talks to sign a bilateral ceasefire.