Tatmadaw, KIA Have First Clash of 2020 in Northern Shan State

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) engaged in their first clash of 2020 on New Year’s Day in northern Shan State.

KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu confirmed the battle.

“We clashed with the Burma Army on January 1. It lasted between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. According to the ground report, it lasted at least 30 minutes… This is the first clash,” he told NMG.

The fighting occurred in the area controlled by the KIA’s Battalion 8 in Brigade 4 in Namkham Township, with the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Division 99 troops, who allegedly entered the KIA’s territory.

KIA ally the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) reported that their troops clashed with the Burma Army near Mang Weing village in Namkham on January 2, which the TNLA attributed to “excessive force” used by the Tatmadaw.

According to TNLA sources, members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs)—including the TNLA, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Arakan Army—extended their unilateral ceasefire declaration for the third time on January 1.

These three members of the Northern Alliance, as well as member KIA, are trying to negotiate with the government regarding a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the army.

Representatives from the government and the four Northern Alliance members held an informal meeting in China on December 15 and agreed to meet again early this year. Negotiations are still underway regarding a meeting location and date.

The KIA’s Col Naw Bu said that if fighting continues, it could impact peace talks.

“If clashes continue like this, it can impact meetings for peace talks, so both the Burma Army and EAOs must try not to have clashes occur between us,” he told NMG.

The four members of the Northern Alliance are also members of the Federal Political Negotiations Consultative Committee (FPNCC).