A large quantity of amphetamines left behind at a recently abandoned Burma army post is further proof that drug abuse is rampant in the ranks of Burma's armed forces, say officials with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The amphetamines along with a collection of homemade pipes were found by KIA forces when they captured the post on April 26 following heavy fighting at Laja Yang, just outside Laiza.
Fashioned from plastic water bottles, the pipes were scattered around the entire post, said a KIA officer who visited the site. Pipes were also found in a large covered area which appeared to serve as a meeting hall for the Burma army troops.
Defectors from the Burma army frequently report that the use of amphetamines also known as Yaba is rife among the rank and file.
A senior KIA commander based in the Mai Ja Yang area told the Kachin News Group that many of the government troops who have fallen at the hands of the KIA since the conflict began last year appeared to be taking needless risks, indicating they were high on drugs at the time of their death.
The KIA officer believes that Burma army soldiers wouldn't charge directly at well defended KIA position unless they were on something that affected their judgment.
While Burma forces fled Laja Yang on April 26, army troops remain at posts at nearby Lung Rawt Bum (mountain). Laja Yang is a strategic military position due to its location less than four miles from Laiza, the KIA's de facto headquarters.
Buddhist temple supplied rations to government troops on frontline
A Buddhist temple in Laja Yang supplied government soldiers on the frontline for the past few months, according to evidence seized by the KIA on April 26 when the area fell to the Kachin resistance.
A cache of weapons was also discovered inside the temple, according to KIA officers in Laja Yang.
The temple was built in 2004 with funds supplied by Maj-Gen Ohn Myint, former head of the Northern Regional Military Command, said villagers. Ohn Myint backed construction of the temple despite there being few if any Buddhist families actually living in the predominately Christian village.
The temple's head monk fled with departing government troops when the town fell to the KIA, according to villagers.
Army soldiers take refuge in monastery in Bhamo township
Over 100 Burma soldiers have taken refuge in a Buddhist monastery in Man Mau village in Dawhpumyang sub-township in Bhamo (Manmaw) district. According to villagers the large group of soldiers took over the monastery on April 19.
It appears that a number of monks and some villagers are being held at the temple against their will, added villagers.
Government forces in Man Mau have been surrounded by Kachin forces since mid-April. Senior KIA officials have ordered their subordinates not to attack government troops in temples and other religious areas, said a KIA officer in Man Mau.
Six Burmese military posts were destroyed in Man Mau yesterday after KIA troops deliberately set them on fire, said a KIA officer who is currently serving in the village.