Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) claim the Burmese army has suffered numerous serious injuries since it launched an offensive against the KIO in June 2011. According to the KIO, intercepts of army radio communication reveal a staggering number of fatally wounded soldiers on the part of the Tatmadaw (official name of the Burmese army).
Burma’s government and its state controlled press have yet to reveal any figures indicating the number of soldiers killed or injured during the 7-month long Kachin campaign. The KIO however says the combined number of injured or killed could be as high as several thousand.
Officials from the KIA’s Alen Bum base in eastern Kachin State told KNG that at about 100 KIA soldiers have been killed defending Kachin territory since the fighting began.
Due to the remote location of the fighting and the secretive nature of the Tatmadaw it is very difficult to independently determine the Burmese army’s casualty figures. Those who have previously served in the Burmese army report however that Burmese army commanders rarely hesitate to send low ranking conscript troops into mine fields or other dangerous situations. According to defectors and retired army personnel medical care for front line troops is extremely poor with recruits often dying from wounds that should be treatable.
Troops belonging to the KIO’s armed wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) frequently report coming across the bodies of dead Burmese conscripts buried in shallow graves by their Tatmadaw colleagues.
According to defectors the families of soldiers killed in the front lines are given few if any details about the fate of their loved ones due to the Burmese army’s secretive nature and overall disorganization.
Many young recruits are forcibly conscripted into the army, without even having a chance to tell their loved where they are going.
Though the Burmese army outnumbers the Kachin resistance in both man power and fire power, the Tatmadaw has had a difficult time capturing territory from the KIO. The rough mountain terrain of Kachin and northern Shan states in many ways favors committed Kachin resistance fighters over poorly trained conscript troops, who have been forced to fight by their superiors.