WAR: Fresh Govt. Attack on KIA at Hydropower Dam

Monday, 11 July 2011 19:19

Burmese government troops have launched a large-scale attack including mortar shells against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) at the hydropower dam site in Momauk Township,  Kachin State, northern Burma.

The two-day assault started on Sunday and involved government forces and KIA Battalions 15 and 25, according to La Nan, joint-secretary of the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

A number of 81mm mortars shells also landed in areas close to the KIA headquarters in Laiza, next to the Sino-Burmese border. Some mortar rounds actually landed on Chinese soil and were inspected by the authorities there, claimed La Nan.

The KIO has accused government troops of attacking the KIA from covered positions amongst civilian infrastructure at the Taping hydropower dam site including workshops and electricity poles. If KIA troops were to return fire, there is a strong possibility that these important Chinese-owned amenities will be damaged.

La Nan alleges that the Burmese government is attempting to cause problems between the KIA and Chinese businesses through these military tactics. KIA troops, however, refused to be drawn into a protracted battle with the Burmese Army, he added.

KIA sources also reveal that the KIO leadership will conduct survey amongst Kachin civilians tomorrow to determine if they should seek a ceasefire with the government.

Serious fighting between the Burmese Army and KIA troops has forced more than 10,000 refugees to flee to the Sino-Burmese border since hostilities broke out on June 9.

Both small-scale clashes and heavy fighting have taken place every day across Kachin State despite the government and KIO leaders recently discussing possibilities for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, local humanitarian groups and relief agencies have raised concerns regarding a rising need for emergency food, shelter and medical care, as well as schooling for children on the Sino-Burmese border.

More than 15,000 internally displaced persons and refugees are currently living in make-shift camps along the frontier, and relief groups are quickly running out of aid and essential supplies. The Irrawaddy

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