The Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)’s Regiment 8 fought for nearly an hour on the outskirts of the southern Kachin State town of Mohnyin on 22 April, the Kachin News Group has learned.
According to reports from the KIA the clashes which broke out near the Aung Thein Linn jade mine in the west of Mohnyin and involved dozens of troops from the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion 54 and the KIA's Battalion 35. The area where the clashes took place is normally under the control of the KIA’s Battalion 35. The Aung Thein Linn mine has only recently begun operations.
Burma Army Infantry Battalion 54 arrived in Mawhan in order to replace troops from Light Infantry Battalion 308, which has been active in KIA’s Battalion 35 territory. According to a KIA spokesperson the battle broke out after the Burma Army fired at a KIA outpost with heavy artillery.
Clashes have not been fought in this area since last November when the Burma Army attacked KIA troops in the east of Mohyin with jet fighters.
After a new civilian government took office, battles have been waged near the KIO's Laiza headquarters and in northern Shan State and now the war has spread to KIA Brigade 8 in Mohnyin. Tensions are also high in Danai, in the Hukaung valley which is controlled by KIA Battalion 14 under the group's Brigade 2. The Hukaung valley is officially home to the world's largest tiger reserve and some of the world's best amber mining areas and large scale plantations controlled by the Yuzana company.
Clashes continue in Shan state as well
The Burma Army’s Light Infantry Divison 99 (LID 99) and the Kachin Independence Army’s Brigade 6 re-engaged in a battle near Hpawng Seng in northern Shan State last week.
A senior official from KIA told the Kachin News Group that a short battle broke out between the Burma Army’s LIB 99 and KIA Battalion 38 on the LID 99's departure from Hpawng Seng at around 4 PM on 26 April.
The Kachin News Group has also learned that this past weekend clashes also took place in Shan state between troops from the KIA Battalion 17, under the group's Brigade 4 and army troops near Kunlong.
Translated by Thida Linn