Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization's armed wing claim that on January 4 their group shot down a Burmese army transport helicopter in northern Kachin State.
The pilot of the Russian built helicopter died upon impact, after crash landing in a paddy field near Sinlum Bum village in N’Mawk (Momauk) Township, said Zau Seng a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer stationed on the front line.
According to Zau Seng, the helicopter was severely damaged after coming under small arms fire from the KIA, during a failed attempt to unload supplies at a Burmese base near Mu Bum mountain.
Eyewitnesses report that the helicopter began to produce smoke after repeatedly taking machine gun fire from troops belonging to the KIA's 3rd Brigade. The helicopter crashed several miles away from the Mu Bum base during an apparent retreat to its home base in Manmaw.
The remains of the helicopter were discovered the following day by local villagers.
Fighting between the KIA and government forces has continued unabated for nearly seven months, despite a December 10 order from President Thein Sein instructing the army to cease the Kachin offensive.
Although Burma's military backed government is yet release any estimates of the number of Burmese soldiers killed in the Kachin offensive, KIA sources say the Burmese army has sustained its worst losses in more than two decades. A claim supported by seasoned Burmese military observers who note the generals total disregard for the safety of their own poorly trained conscript troops.