Burma Army fights KIO to secure Shwe pipeline route in Shan State

30.12.2011 kachin news


shwe-gas-pipelineA Chinese pipeline truck headed to Burmese border town Muse from Chinese border town Jegao.

For the fourth consecutive day parts of Northern Shan State saw heavy fighting between the Burmese army and troops from the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), along the proposed route of the Shwe gas pipeline project.

Since December 25th KIO troops have resisted a sustained Burmese army advance near Namtu and Nam Kham (or Nam Hkam), two towns that lie in the path of the twin oil and gas pipelines.

The proposed pipeline route cuts directly through territory controlled by the 4th brigade of Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) 8th battalion.  Earlier this year the Burmese army fought against the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) to seize territory the group controlled that also lies along the path of the pipelines.

When completed the Shwe gas project will send oil and natural gas from Burma’s Arakan coast to China’s southern Yunnan province.  The twin pipelines are expected to give Burma’s central government significantly large annual royalties.

Burmese army alleged to use chemical agents against KIO
Du Zawng, an officer from the the KIA’s 4th brigade told the Kachin News Group (KNG) on Wednesday that over the past 24 hours the Burmese army has again used an unknown chemical weapon against the Kachin resistance.
shwe-gas-kiaDu Zawng reported that more than 10 KIA soldiers near Kutkhai in Northern Shan State became ill after coming in contact with a strong chemical smell that accompanied a series of mortar shell fired by the Burmese side.  After inhaling the fumes the affected troops began to vomit uncontrollably and some became unconsciousness.

The Burmese army has reportedly repeatedly used chemical agents against the Kachin resistance after fighting broke out between the two sides in June this year.  Due to the remote location of the fighting it remains unclear what chemicals the Burmese army has been using.

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