Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burma's armed forces broke out today in at least five different places in northern Shan state after two Burmese army columns were sent to the area as reinforcements, local residents told the Kachin News Group (KNG).
Both sides suffered casualties from skirmishes near two towns - Pangsai (also Kyukok) and Mongkoe (also Munggu), situated along the Muse to Kutkai road route.
KIA sources estimate that more than a dozen Burmese soldiers were killed during the fighting. The KIA also lost a solider and another solider was injured according to a KIA officer on the front-lines. The fighting consisted of forces from the KIA's battalion 36 who were supported by a Kachin civilian force called the People’s Army and government forces from Infantry Battalion No. 45, IB No. 123 and IB No. 125, said a KIA officer who requested anonymity.
This morning at 5am, Kachin forces attacked police stations and military bases in Pangsai for about 30 minutes, but the number of casualties remains unknown, according to residents.
Fighting has occurred over the past few days in the Mongkoe area especially in a stretch of territory from Naw Gu to Man Mau.
At least two unarmed civilians were also shot dead in their homes this by month by Burmese soldiers, a Monggu resident told the Kachin News Group by phone.
North western Shan state is home to the site where the Kachin Independence Organization was formed 52 years ago. Currently the KIA’s 4th brigade comprises seven battalions based in northern Shan state, an area that also includes part of the Mandalay to Muse road, the country’s largest border trade route with China.
Currently controversial twin oil and gas pipelines that will deliver gas from the Arakanese coast to China's southern Yunnan region are also currently under construction along a stretch of land that is also KIO territory.