Christmas clashes between Burma army and KIA
December 24th saw heavy fighting break out between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and government forces in southern Kachin state’s Bhamo district, according to KIA officials.
The fighting which lasted most of the day took place at Nam Lim Pa, a village in Manje (or Mansi) township that was taken over by government forces in November. The fighting involved troops from KIA Battalion 12 and unknown units from the Burma army, the commander of Battalion 12, Major Labang Jawn Awng tells the Kachin News Group.
“The fighting which involved small arms and artillery broke out after we attacked government troops whilst they were bathing. Explosions from the artillery were heard more than 50 times during an hour and half period,” Major Labang Jawn Awng said.
According to the Major there were no casualties on the KIA side but it remains unclear if there were any casualties on the government side.
In Northern Shan state, a truck with over 30 government soldiers was targeted by remote controlled mines on the Mandalay-Muse road, said a senior officer with the KIA 4th Brigade. The truck which originated in Muse appeared to be heading south to Kutkai. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack was carried out by troops from KIA battalion 9.
The incident took place near Nam Hpa Lun village. It appeared that five government soldiers were injured in the attack, the KIA officer said.
Five trucks with government reinforcements arrived at Man Loi village near Nam Hpa Lum several hours after the KIA mine attack, local eyewitnesses tell the Kachin News Group.
The last few weeks have seen an upsurge in fighting in northern Shan state in an area controlled by the KIA’s 4th Brigade. This includes territory traversed by twin pipelines that are supplying oil and gas from Burma’s Arakan (Rakhine) coast to China’s Yunnan province
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