LAIZA, Burma— Three soldiers from the Burmese Army were killed and five injured on Wednesday, after a six hour battle between government forces and members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) took place near Sinbo in central Kachin State, local villagers told the Kachin News Group.
The casualties occurred when a group of about fifty government soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 141 traded gunfire with the Kachin resistance in an area located between Lawt Awng village and Nlung Shala Hka stream. The KIA troops involved in the clash were from the 2nd Brigade's Battalion 5, KIA sources report.
Earlier Wednesday morning in eastern Kachin state, a KIA officer Lt. Maran Brang Nan was killed in an ambush by government soldiers near Sama village in Waingmaw township.
Prior to Wednesday, fighting between government forces and the KIA had reduced significantly in Kachin state for about ten days. The lull in fighting came after representatives from both the government and the KIA's political wing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) met in China. Fighting has continued however, in areas of Northern Shan state set to be used for the Shwe gas project's twin oil and gas pipelines.
According to KIO officials based at the group's Laiza headquarters, both government and KIO representatives will likely meet again for another round of talks the second week of February.
Although Burma's President Thein Sein has twice publicly claimed during the past two month to have ordered the Burmese army to halt its offensive against the Kachin, the KIA says there has been no reduction in government forces in the conflict area.