Burmese government forces launched an assault on the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the village of Nam Gau in Mansi Township on Thursday, according to a mobile team of the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), which supplies medical support in the area.

Eighteen villagers were captured by the Burmese troops who also fired at fleeing villagers, the report said.

“The fighting intensified on 31 January, with reinforced Burma army troops attacking not only Nam Gau but also Nam San Village, located south of the first attack site. Heavy mortar and machine gun fire hit the village as Burma Army troops from Battalion 276 attacked,” FBR said.

Most of the residents of these two villages had already fled once before due to an earlier attack by Burmese troops; after this latest assault all remaining families have now fled the villages, the report said.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is defending the village, said FBR, noting that one KIA soldier had been killed in the fighting.

FBR also noted that one of its relief teams conducted a medical clinic in Nam Lim Pa for the few remaining IDPs there.

“Rangers found three bodies with evidence of torture. All three were killed when the Burma Army attacked Nam Lim Pa in late November 2013; a total of seven people were killed in these November attacks,” the group reported.

Responding to DVB on Sunday about the incident, Presidential Spokesman Ye Htut said that the “Tatmadaw is conducting an operation to arrest illegal logging in that area and some KIO troops are preventing this operation because they are involved in illegal trade.”

He added that the government is still investigating the matter.

Link: http://www.dvb.no/news/18-kachin-villagers-captured-by-burmese-army-in-mansi-burma-myanmar/36654