Burma army captures posts near KIO's Laiza capital

KA-frontline-post-feb11-2014Two frontline posts controlled by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) that severed as protection for the group's Laiza headquarters were seized by Burma government troops after heavy clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ja Ing Yang and Hka U, both posts held by KIA battalion 18 under the group's 5th Brigade, were attacked and then captured by the Burma Army, according to KIA frontline officers who declined to be quoted by name.

The KIA soldiers withdrew from Hka U post after a column from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Division No. 99 attacked their post with small arms and artillery on Wednesday morning, said Dumsa Dau Hka, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)’s Technical Advisory Team office based in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state.

Shortly after the KIA withdrawal from the post, government troops burned down Hka U post, a KIA eyewitness told the Kachin News Group.

On Tuesday, a combined battalion of government troops captured Ja Ing Yang post after they clashed with troops from KIA battalion 18 and its militia MHH (Mungshawa Hpyen Hpung) for several hours, KIA frontline officers and local villagers told the Kachin News Group.

Troops from Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 261, Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 421, LIB No. 424, LIB No. 425 and LIB No. 426 under Military Operation Command (MOC) No. 7 participated in the military's attack on the two posts, according to the KIA frontline officers.

During the government's attack on Ja Ing Yang post, 120mm mortar were fired several times from the MOC-7 base located in nearby Shadan Pa valley, according to the KIA officers.

Recently, two KIA posts located in the group's 3rd brigade in Bhamo (or Manmaw) district in southern Kachin state were captured by government troops.

Dau Hka told KNG that the Technical Advisory Team was by informed the government controlled Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) on Wednesday that the fighting would intensify if the KIA resisted the army.

“Heavy fighting will break out again if the KIA resists government troops. So far there have been no big clashes because the KIA withdrew from their posts,” Dau Hka said.

Meanwhile, the government appears to be sending more troops to reinforce positions near the KIA's Laiza headquarters. More government troops are also being sent to the KIA battalion 12 area in Mansi (or Manje) township in southern Kachin state from Bhamo, the KNG has learned.

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