Eighteen Burmese soldiers, who entered the area of the KIA’s Ngwa Lay post, in Lahpai Village, on the Stilwell Road, also Ledo Road between Sadung-Kambaiti, finally withdrew from the area after they were repeatedly warned that the KIA troops would open fire, said a local resident.
KIA sources said the KIA refused the Burmese military’s request for permission to go to Kambaiti through Ngwa Lay post, after being asked many times.
The Burmese troops were from the battalion under command of the Burmese Army’s Regional Operation Command (ROC) based in Danai (Tanai) in Hukawng Valley, western Kachin State, according to residents of Lahpai.
The KIA official said it has informed the Burmese junta that it will stop Burmese troops when they enter KIA territories in Kachin State and Northern Shan State.
James Lum Dau, of KIO foreign affairs in Bangkok, Thailand, told the Kachin News Group, “We are still keeping the policy that we will not start war with the Burmese junta. We are seeking ways to establish a genuine political dialogue with the Burmese military leaders.”
Since December last year, several separate Burmese troops, with around 100 soldiers or over 10 soldiers, have operated near other controlled areas of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political-wing of KIA, in Sadung area, in Waingmaw Township, according to the KIA officials.
Some parts of Sadung, where over 20,000 acres of opium are currently grown, are jointly controlled by the Burmese junta and it’s Border Guard Force, formerly known as the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K), according to the KIA Drug Eradication Committee.
Villagers and the KIA Drug Eradication Committee said the Burmese Opium Eradication Campaign in the area not only demands money from opium field owners but also interferes with the current KIA drug eradication campaign.
Two-days of fighting took place between Burmese troops and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) at Mong Awd village tract, in Monghsu, Shan State on March 13 and 14.
Both the KIO and SSA-N are members of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of 11 ethnic organizations, which formed last month.
The UNFC aims to restore a genuine federal union in Burma by pressuring the ruling Burmese military junta politically and militarily. However, the alliance is now in “wait and see” mode, while observing the new military-backed civilian government being formed by the Burmese junta.
James Lum Dau said the junta’s recent attempts to intimidate the KIO and other ethnic armed groups are typical and are nothing to worry about.