Despite its numerical superiority, over 30 Burmese Army soldiers were killed in this morning’s clashes with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in three places on the Muse-Nam Hkam-Manmaw (Bhamo) route in the country’s northern Kachin State, said locals.
At least 10 government soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion targeted at five military trucks by the KIA’s Battalion 1 soldiers. The Burmese Army convoy had started moving to Manwin from Nam Hkam, said residents of Nam Hkam.
At about 1 a.m. the KIA’s Battalion 1 troops ambushed a Burmese military column near the Burmese Army’s Kai Htik post enroute after the column left the post, killing over 20 government soldiers, said KIA officers of Battalion 1.
Skirmishes continue in areas between Shweli River Bridge and Nam Hkam, and downtown Nam Hkam and Manwin, said people in the two towns.
Casualties figure on the Burmese Army side in the fighting downtown but the exact figure could not be ascertained.
In the three places mentioned, clashes took place between hundreds of government troops from the Meiktila-based Light Infantry Division (LID) No. 99 and Bago-based LID No. 77 and dozens of KIA soldiers from Battalion 1 and 27.
President Thein Sein’s government has sent in two army divisions from lower Burma to southern Kachin State to clear the Muse-Nam Hkam-Manmaw (Bhamo) route, which connects Kachin State and Shan State since early November.
Till now, most sections of the route remains under control of the KIA, said local people.