At least 30 Burma army soldiers died on Wednesday following heavy fighting with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the jade rich Hpakant (also Phakant) district of western Kachin state, according to local KIA officers.
The soldiers were killed following a guerrilla ambush by a KIA unit from the group’s 6th Battalion. According to a KIA officer who spoke to the Kachin News Group on condition of anonymity the fighting took place in the vicinity of the Gwi Hka jade mine. No KIA soldiers were killed in the fighting the officer said.
On Friday January 18th the KIA was forced to withdrawal all troops from the 6th Battalion headquarters, located a few miles northeast of Hpakant town in Ginsi. According to KIA officials the abandonment of the battalion headquarters was a strategic withdrawal carried out prior to government troops advancing on the area.