A dozen Burma army soldiers died yesterday morning during heavy fighting with the Kachin Independence Army's (KIA) Battalion 3 in Waingmaw (or Waimaw) township in eastern Kachin State, according to officials from the KIA and local residents.
A KIA soldier suffered minor injuries during one of the two clashes that took place yesterday, according to a fellow member of the KIA's Battalion 3.
The first outbreak of violence happened at the Burma army's Bum Tawng post on the Myitkyina to Kambaiti road at about 7 a.m. The post was previously under KIA control but was abandoned in November of last year.
Witnesses say that three Burma army soldiers stationed at a checkpoint on the road were killed after KIA personnel detonated a series of remote controlled explosive devices. According to local residents government troops usually use the gate to forcibly collect tax from traders and civilians who pass through.
Four hours after the Kambaiti road clash, KIA forces and government troops again clashed at a location between Sambai and Ga Ra Yang village on the Myitkyina to Bhamo (Manmaw) road. At least 9 government soldiers appeared to have died and several more were injured, said a KIA officer serving at the frontline.
After the clashes local residents observed a 20 vehicle convoy carrying what appears to be more government troops pass Shwe Nyaung Pyin village near Ga Ra Yang. It is believed that the ultimate destination for the troops is Waingmaw.
Yesterday in the jade rich Hpakant region of western Kachin State, KIA Battalion 6 soldiers raided the Kamaing police station capturing weapons and ammunition. According to KIA officials four police were killed and three others were injured during the raid.
Although Burma's central government led by ex-general President Thein has promised to hold peace talks with the KIA's political wing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the army continues to attack KIA positions and send more troops to Kachin State.