Armed conflict could break out any time if Burmese troops try to enter KIA controlled areas, said KIA officials in their Laiza headquarters, in eastern Kachin State, close to the China border.
A KIA official told the Thailand-based Kachin News Group the Burmese Army is initiating unusual troop movements near three KIA battalions--- Battalion 27, under the KIA’s 3rd brigade in Man Win Township, in Manmaw (Bhamo) district, and two battalions under the KIA’s 2nd brigade--- Battalion 5 in Sinbo Township, in Myitkyina district and Battalion 14 in Danai Township, in Hukawng Valley.
Early this week, fighting almost broke out between Burmese troops from Sinbo-based Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 141, and KIA battalion 5, said sources from battalion 5.
On February 7, a one-hour firefight took place between troops from the KIA’s battalion 27 and Mohnyin-based Infantry Battalion No. 15, at Pungling-Dinghkru Village, when the Burmese troops tried to enter the KIA’s territory.
In the battle, the Burmese battalion commander, Lt-Col Yin Htwe, was killed and a civilian from the KIA was also killed accidentally after the fighting.
The junta’s Ministry of Defence has ordered the Burmese troop movements near the KIA territories, said the KIA officials in Laiza HQ.
Naw Bu, spokesperson of the Central Drug Eradication Committee, of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of KIA, said the Burmese military operations are a response to the KIO/KIA destroying the regime’s opium fields in Sadung Region, in Waingmaw Township.
The military tensions have gradually increased since the KIO rejected the junta’s directive to disarm in August last year. The KIO was officially described as “insurgents” by the regime in October last year.