At least seven Burma army soldiers were injured Wednesday morning following a series of four mine explosions along the road between Gwi Hka and Nyaung Htauk in the Hpakant jade mining district in western Kachin state, according to sources with the Kachin Independence Army's 6th battalion.
The injured conscripts were from a Burmese military column that includes troops from the Kham Ti-based Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 229, Shahtuzup-based IB No. 297 and IB No. 247, according to KIA officials.
Prior to the Kachin Independence Organization's (KIO) 1994 ceasefire agreement jade mines in the Hpakant region was one of the largest sources of revenue for the KIO. During the 17-year long ceasefire however the KIO lost the ability to tax region's jade industry.
Following the resumption of fighting last June the KIO has stepped up its presence in Hpakant and the area has seen sporadic clashes between Kachin forces and government troops.