Burma Army, KIA Clash In First Battle in Kachin State This Year


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Forces belonging to the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) engaged in their first battle in Kachin State in months in Mohnyin Township this week.

Col Naw Bu, who is in charge of the Kachin Independence Organization’s information department, told NMG that there had been no fighting in the state or around nine months, but that it reignited in the second week of October.

“I heard our forces clashed with the Burma Army in the KIA’s Battalion 5 area… There were no clashes in 2019,” he said, adding that he had not yet received a detailed field report about the fighting.

Battalion 5’s territory is located between the railway and the Irrawaddy River, and reportedly occurred on October 14, according to Naw Bu.

Fighting between the groups in Kachin State had paused since the Burma Army’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire in late 2018. The declaration expired in September.

Four members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups—the KIA, Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army—have been engaging in peace talks with the government and Burma Army around signing a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

According to Northern Alliance leaders, among the deadlocked issues preventing the process from moving forward include that of the formation of a committee to monitor clashes after the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

Representatives of the Northern Alliance members, the government and the Burma Army held a meeting in Kengtung, eastern Shan State on September 17. They agreed to meet again in October, but needed to negotiate further surrounding the meeting schedule and venue. It has yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, intense clashes have been taking place in nearby northern Shan State between the other three members of the Northern Alliance the Burma Army, as well as in Rakhine State.