Mon 18 Mar 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military,News
Burma army troops and forces from the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) clashed in northern Shan state on Wednesday, less than 36 hours after both sides met for peace talks in the Chinese border town of Ruili. Fighting took place at Man Pying near Hu Hpyet town in Kutkai township.
The clashes which lasted more than two hours involved the Burma army’s Infantry Battalion No. 241 and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) special forces battalion No. 301 led by Major Hpauda Dut, according to a senior officer with the KIA’s 4th Brigade. The official declined to give his name for security reasons.
“This battle was unavoidable because government forces followed behind our troops. They follow us wherever we move” he said.
The KIA official said that six Burma army soldiers were killed and at least a dozen appeared to be injured in the clashes, these figures could not be confirmed however. KIA forces in the area are expecting more fighting to continue as Burma army forces appear determined to make more aggressive maneuvering.
Since February KIA forces have been instructed not to shoot at government forces if they are not attacking the KIA. Orders that have meant there are no further guerrilla attacks being carried out, according to KIA forces based on the frontline. Despite these measures some fighting has continued.
According to a joint statement summarizing the talks that was issued on Tuesday, the KIO and the government agreed to meet again in the near future likely before April 10th. The joint statement also reported that both sides agreed to pursue an overall framework which would to lead to the de-escalation of the conflict in Kachin and northern Shan states. The two parties also agreed to establish some form of joint monitoring of the situation. Though little detail of what this monitoring framework would entail have been made public so far.
Last week Lah Nan, the KIO’s senior spokesperson and deputy general secretary 2 of the group told the Kachin News Group that the KIO is more focused on future political talks. He acknowledged that the government is sending more troops and weapons to resupply military posts on the frontline during this relative lull in fighting.