WAR: 2 Burma army soldiers dead after Myitsone dam clash

Two Burma army soldiers were killed and 4 others injured after weekend clashes between government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), near the site of the stalled Myitsone dam project in Kachin state.

According to local residents fighting broke out on Saturday and Sunday on the outskirts of Tang Hpre village, located at the confluence of the of the Mali Hka and N’mai Hka rivers (known locally as Mali Zup or Mali-N’Mai Zup) site of the controversial Mytisone dam project.

Eyewitnesses said they saw Burma troops recover at least 2 dead bodies and four injured soldiers from the area after the fighting ended.  It is unclear what unit or division the Burma army soldiers were from, however the KIA troops involved are thought to have been with the group’s Battalion 4, according to witnesses.

The clashes near the dam the site forced workers from the Myitsone project to flee, according to eyewitnesses.  While the project remains suspended the state-owned Chinese firm behind the dam, China Power Investment (CPI) maintains a workforce of about 200 staff at the site.

In 2010 the entire population of Tang Hpre village, about 27 miles north of the Kachin state capital Myitkyina, was forcibly relocated to make way for the Myitsone dam project.  Despite the fact that President Thein Sein announced last September that the dam would be suspended, none of the more than 2000 people forcibly relocated from five villages near the dam site have been allowed to return home.  Instead their homes have been destroyed and a government owned mining firm has ramped up gold mining in the area.

On May 10 troops from the KIA’s 2nd Brigade took control over a key Burmese army base at Hka Garan Yang village located along the road to Putao north of Myitkyina.

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