Fri 27 May 2011
Filed under: Inside Burma
The first shots have been fired between Burmese and Kachin troops in Kachin State, Northern Burma this morning at 10:20 a.m. local time, sources in the field said.
The exchange took place after the expiry of the KIA’s May 25th deadline for withdrawal of all government troops near Kachin Independence Army (KIA) posts in Kachin State and Northern Shan State.
A Kachin News Group (KNG) reporter, who was near the fighting said the gunfire lasted for several minutes at Wa Myi Kawng, in Shadan Ga Gaw area, near Manje (Mansi) Town, in southeastern Bhamo (Manmaw) District.
KIA officials at the Laiza Headquarters confirmed to the Thailand-based Kachin News Group, the exchange of small gunfire took place between troops from the KIA’s Battalion 27 and the Burmese Army’s Sarhmaw-based Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 105, which is stationed at Kai Htik military post, on the Bhamo-Nam Hkam route.
The latest military clash emerged while the military-controlled Burmese government’s President U Thein Sein is visiting China for three days, starting yesterday, May 26.
At the same time, 20 truckloads of government army reinforcements departed from Nam Hkam before at 3:30 a.m. for Man Win, which connects Bhamo through Kai Htik and Manje, the KIA’s Battalion 27 base in Balawng Dingsa, in Manje Township, as well as Shweli 1 and 2 hydropower plants in Shweli River (N’mau Hka in Kachin) at Man Tat, and the China border, the KNG field-reporter said.
The military clashes will intensify if the Burmese troops approach KIA controlled territories, according to the KIA officials in Laiza.
Meanwhile, tension has increased as troops from both sides are continuing to circle each other near the position held by two battalions under the KIA’s Brigade 2, in the western region of KIO held territory. They are Pang Hkawn-based Battalion 5 near Sinbo town in Mohnyin Township (Mung-nyang Ginwang in KIA) and Kasung Pa-based Battalion 11, near Namti town. Sources said no shots have been fired so far.
Eleven Burmese soldiers and three KIA soldiers died since last week in the new military action.
The KIA warned Thein Sein’s government that all consequences of refusing to remove Burmese troops from the frontlines after the KIA’s May-25 deadline will be the responsibility of the central government.