Burma Army Attacks KIA Camp


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Burma Army troops attacked a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) battalion with assault rifles late last week, a representative of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) confirmed.

Col Naw Bu, who is in charge of the KIO’s information department, said that the military launched an attack on October 19 on the KIA’s Regiment 254, located not far from the organization’s Laiza headquarters.

“It’s the KIA’s patrolling battalion… it is located between Hpalap and Samar hill,” Col Naw Bu told NMG. “The Burma Army, which has been stationed on Samar, attacked our Battalion 254 between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on October 19. Samar belongs to Kachin State. The Burma Army shot at us from Samar hill.”

Col Naw Bu added that the assault was carried out with assault rifles, including machine guns, but not artillery.

“They shot at us with around 20 bullets. They didn’t attack us with heavy weapons,” he said, adding that he did not know why the attack took place.

The KIA did not report any casualties, and said that they did not shoot back at the government troops.

NMG tried to call the Burma Army’s True News Information Team for comment but received no response. NMG also reached out to the office of the military commander-in-chief but was unable to obtain comment at the time of reporting.

Kachin State saw no clashes for nearly nine months. Col Naw Bu said that this period ended when fighting broke out on October 14 in Mohnyin Township, five days before the attack in the Samar area. .

“The Burma Army’s military column attacked our front line military post in the KIA’s Battalion 5’s active area in the Sinbo area,” he explained of the initial clash. Two Kachin soldiers went missing following this outbreak of fighting, according to the KIA, and one was killed.

“Our forces had been traveling through the area. I think the Burma Army received information about the movement of our forces, then they ambushed our forces,” Col Naw Bu said.

The Burma Army’s Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun told media a different story: that five KIA soldiers attacked a military column in Mohnyin, causing the clash.

The nine-month pause in clashes coincided with the Burma Army’s unilateral ceasefire declaration, which was supposed to apply to five command regions beginning in December 2018, and extended until September of this year. Fighting did, however, intensify in northern Shan State, where the ceasefire declaration was also supposed to apply, between joint forces belonging to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Arakan Army (AA).

The government and the four members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups—the TNLA, MNDAA, KIA, and AA—have been negotiating regarding the possibility of a bilateral ceasefire agreement, but fighting with the Burma Army has been ongoing.