Four fighter jets and two helicopters took part in an air assault on rebel positions near Laiza, the Kachin Independence Organization's de facto capital, on Friday morning. Throughout the morning military planes struck KIO positions in Lajayang, a key town located less than 10 miles south of Laiza.
It is unknown at this time how many people have been killed or injured by the bombardment. Government shelling near Lajayang on Thursday killed one civilian and injured three others at Mankwi, according to KIO officials in the area.
The renewed attacks on KIO positions near Laiza comes just days after Burma's military sent the group a letter demanding that all KIO troops abandon their positions in and around Lajayang. The letter was signed by Brig-Gen Tun Tun Naung, a senior official with the army's northern command. The KIO rebuffed the letter and appears unwilling at this point to withdraw from Lajayang or any other areas of strategic value in and around the Laiza.
The KIO capital is currently home to at an estimated 40,000 refugees who are increasingly forced to get by on inadequate amounts of food. The food crisis has been greatly exacerbated by a government imposed blockade preventing the UN and its related agencies from delivering food to refugee camps located in KIO controlled territory.
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