KIA orders troops not to respond after Burma army captures IDP camp

KNG NEWS 20.NOV.2013

The Burma Army soldiers (pictured here at Nam Lim Pa village) are currently occupying both Nam Lim Pa village and Nam Lim Pa IDP camp
The Burma Army soldiers (pictured here at Nam Lim Pa village) are currently occupying both Nam Lim Pa village and Nam Lim Pa IDP camp

Senior officials at the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) Laiza headquarters issued instructions on Tuesday ordering troops in the field not to respond militarily to the Burma army’s recent capture of the Nam Lim Pa internally displaced people camp in southern Kachin state, the Kachin News Group has learned.

These orders are likely directly related to the visit this week to Yangon by the Vice Chief of Staff of KIA, Maj-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw, according to Major Labang Jawn Awng, a commander with KIA battalion 12.

Located in territory held by the KIA’s Battalion 12, Nam Lim Pa was home to more than 2,000 IDP until it was captured by the Burma army over the weekend.  Jawn Awng and his colleagues accuse the army of taking advantage of an aid convoy to seize the camp.  According to Jawn Awng, shortly after the aid convoy was allowed to proceed to the camp the military dispatched a large number of troops to seize the camp which put many civilians at risk.

Heavy fighting erupted in the vicinity of the camp shortly after it was captured and this fighting continued for three straight days, said Lahpai La Doi, a villager from Nam Lim Pa.  The fighting largely stopped after KIA headquarters issued instruction ordering their troops on the ground not to attack the military, said the villager who fled the fighting.

More than 50 clashes between government troops and the KIO have taken place in Battalion 12 territory since June, according to Commander Jawn Awng. He estimates that the Burma army suffered more than 100 casualties (injured and dead) during this period.  Four KIA soldiers were also lost and more than 10 were seriously injured during the same time, says Jawn Awng.

According to KIA Battalion officials there are currently at least 20 battalions with more than 1,000 Burma army troops operating against KIA in the battalion 12 area.  The troops who are from Military Operation Command 21 (MOC-21) under Northern Regional Military Command and MOC-16 under Northeastern Regional Military Command were deployed to the area in October.

Burma army forces now control about 20 villages in the Mansi area that were previously controlled by the KIA.

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