Troops from the Kachin Independence Organization's (KIO) armed wing clashed with Burma army forces on November 16th in eastern Kachin state, according to an officer with group.
The officer from the Kachin Independence Army's (KIA) Battalion 12 said that the fighting, which lasted more than an hour, took place at Hka Shang village near Jan Chyai Hkret in Mansi, also called Manje township. The area has long been held by KIA Battalion 27 (KIA 3rd Brigade). The clashes erupted when Burma army soldiers from brigade 88 entered into KIA territory, the office said.
“War broke out between us because they (Burmese troops) entered our region about 3 miles away from our camp, we don’t know the casualties,” said the KIA officer. He requested anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The Kachinnet website which is close to the KIO leadership carried a statement that claimed that more than 80 Burmese government forces from the Magwe township based Light Infantry Division (Hka-Ma-Ya) No. 417 under brigade No. 88 had intruded into KIO territory and triggered the fighting. .
Last month the Burmese Army dispatched 4 more battalions to areas close to where the fighting took place. The new troops arrived at the villages of Nam Hkam, Man Wing and Gawng Run.
Fighting previously took place in the area in April in territory controlled by KIA Battalions 27 as well as 12. The clashes forced thousands of refugees to flee to the Sino-Burma border.
Over the past few month the Burma Army has increased its military presence in territory long held by the KIA's 4th Brigade in northern Shan State. Despite this no clashes have taken place in this area, said Col. Zau Seng of the KIA's Battalion 9.
“The Burma Army is sending more troops, we heard that the army is exchanging them but what we are actually seeing is only them coming in and not going out,” said the colonel, a long time veteran of the KIA.
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