At least three government soldiers were injured in two mine attacks by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on Wednesday morning, after Burmese troops attempted to invade KIA territory in Shan state’s Nam Hkam township. Burma Army troops have since retreated from KIA-controlled Man Sawn and have returned to their base in nearby Nam Hkam.
The incident follows a 20 minute bout of fighting between the two armies on Tuesday evening, caused by a Burma Army attack on KIA battalion 12 in nearby Nam Hawm village in Mabein township. KIA officials have reported a steep increase in the deployment of Burmese troops to northern Shan state since early October.
Major military clashes between the Burma Army and the KIA have largely subsided since the two parties signed a 7-point agreement in Myitkyina on 30 May, though intermittent conflict is still ongoing in several territories. The conflict has displaced approximately 100,000 civilians since the government broke a 17-year ceasefire with the KIA in June 2011.
In the latest of several rounds of peace talks held on 8-10 October, the KIO rejected a fresh ceasefire pact with Naypyidaw pending political settlement between the two parties. While no ceasefire was signed, the two sides did agree to form a “Joint Monitoring Committee” to reduce conflict in Kachin and Shan states, though the plan has not yet been implemented.
Fighting broke out between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Mabein township of northern Shan state around 5pm on Tuesday evening, five days after the latest round of peace talks in Kachin state capital Myitkyina, said KIA officials.
Burma Army Light Infantry Division No. 99 attacked KIA battalion 12 at Nam Hawm near Je U village when KIA forces refused to leave a road, said Labang Doi Pyi Sa, head of Kachin Refugee and IDP Relief Committee.
The fighting continued for 20 minutes, at which point the government troops withdrew from the conflict site, according to a KIA officer who wished to remain anonymous.
No casualties have been reported from either side.
KIA battalion 12 territory includes parts of Manje (also known as Mansi) township in Kachin state and parts of Mabein township in northern Shan state. There are currently more than 500 Burmese troops occupying the territory, since troops were added to four existing battalions in the area in early this month, according the KIA official. Newly installed Burma Army troops in the area include LIB No. 507, LIB No. 522, LIB No. 323 and LIB No. 240.
KIA officials in Laiza claim that the Burma Army has also sent five divisions to KIA frontlines in Kachin state, where frequent clashes continue despite ongoing peace talks geared at an eventual ceasefire.
The latest of such talks took place in Kachin state capital Myitkyina from 8-10 of October, concluding with an agreement between the Naypyidaw government and Kachin Independence Organization to form a “Joint Monitoring Committee” to oversee and reduce conflict.
Fighting between the Burma Army and the KIA has been ongoing in several parts of Kachin and Shan states since the June 2011 breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire between the two armies. The conflict has displaced more than 100,000 villagers according to the latest UN estimates, many still living in IDP camps with little or no access to humanitarian aid.