One Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier was killed and two KIA officers arrested by Burma government soldiers in Kachin state late last month, according to KIA officials.
Maran Naw Di, a soldier from KIA Battalion 26, based in Ingdawgyi Lake in Mohnyin Township was shot and killed on June 30th when Burma army troops attacked the Tak Lep gold mine where he was stationed. The attack was carried out by troops from the Burma army's Infantry Battalion No. 15 led by Lt-Col Kyaw Kyaw Thit, according to the KIA's Lt-Col. Nhpang Naw Bu. Lt-Col. Nhpang Naw Bu is one of the KIA representatives serving on the joint committee established in May to help resolve tensions between the army and the KIA.
On July 5th during the joint committee’s latest monthly meeting in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, Col. Than Aung, the Kachin state government’s minister of border affairs explained the incident to his KIA counterparts. Than Aung claimed that when the government forces arrived at the gold mine they were compelled for the safety to open fire on a group of KIA soldiers as they were leaving a restaurant, said Naw Bu.
Naw Bu said the government's explanation was different from the late soldier's colleagues account of what took place. The KIA soldiers said they were surrounded and then attacked by the Burma army at about 9 pm local time.
The same day Maran Naw Di was killed Lt. Maji Brang Seng, who serves in the KIA's Battalion 6 based in the jade-rich Hpakant township, was arrested by government troops at Mapin village near Chaung Wa on the northern side of Ingdawgyi Lake. Lt. Maji Brang Seng had a pistol in his possession when he was arrested.
Whilst being interrogators by captors from the Tatmadaw Lt. Maji Brang Seng’s right forearm was broken. He was also shot in his left thigh according to a source familiar with his condition.
The severely wounded KIA officer was first hospitalized in nearby Hopin before being moved to Myitkyina public hospital, where he is receiving treatment whilst he remains in police custody.
Earlier on June 28th, Hpukjang Ze Lum, a KIA administrative officer from the Kap Maw Zup area, was arrested with his pistol on the Hpakant road between Nam Ya and Kap Maw Zup. He was detained by troops from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion No. 110, a unit that works closely with Light Infantry Division No. 66, a KIA battalion 6 officer told the Kachin News Group. Ze Lum was brought to Hpakant soon after his arrest where he remains in detention.
KIA urges Burma army for handover captives
During their monthly joint committee meeting in Myitkyina on July 5 the KIA officially called on the Burma Army to handover the two KIA officers recently detained by government forces, the KIA's Lt-Col. Naw Bu told KNG.
The KIA also promised that it will take action against the two officers if they violated any government laws, Naw Bu said.
The Burma army has yet to hand over the captives to the KIA, Naw Bu told KNG.
The military-backed civilian government led by ex-general President Thein Sein and the KIA's political-wing the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), signed a seven step agreement in May of 2012. After the conclusion of this agreement, which stopped short of being a full ceasefire, there was less fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states. Some clashes continue to take place in the Manwing area of southern Kachin state and in parts of neighboring northern Shan state.
The military appears to be involved in a major troop buildup in the Hpakant jade mining area. Large numbers of troops and heavy artillery were sent to Hpakant in late June, according to local residents.
During the latest joint committee meeting in Myitkyina on July 5th, Col. Than Aung from the government side, denied sending troops and artillery to the area, said the KIA's Lt-Col. Naw Bu.
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