Two soldiers from the Kachin Independence Organization's (KIO) armed wing were killed following a surprise attack by government forces on December 19th, the group acknowledged. The deadly incident took place in Kachin state's Daw Hpum Yang sub-township. According to Lah Nan, the KIO's chief spokesperson, one Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier was also seized during the raid on the small KIA outpost.
The attack on the KIA outpost near Aung Sa Kung took place at noon and consisted of about 20 government troops from Light Infantry Battalion 602. The outpost was only lightly guarded by a small number of KIA troops who were caught off guard, explains Lah Nan.
“They (Burma army) are always patrolling around, sending reinforcements and then suddenly they attack our army camp, so our soldiers did not get any chance to shoot them back,” Lah Nan added.
The attack coincided with the one month anniversary of the Burma army shelling of a KIA officer training school which killed 23 cadets (all from KIO allied armed groups) and injured 20 more.
Lah Nan also criticized the Burma government's attempt to block international aid from going to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps located in territory under KIO control. According to Lah Nan the attacks and denial of food are all part of the government's plan to provoke insecurity in the state. “All these attacks were started by the government side against our army camps on the forefront line. But this is not a kind of clash or fighting between two sides, it is one side firing,” he said.
The day after the raid Burma government forces also arrested four civilian residents from Aung Sa Kung village and accused them of supporting the KIA, Lah Nan added. The Burma army has yet to release any of the four detained villagers or the KIA soldier. The KIO has sent a letter of complaint to the national government and to the leader of the Kachin state peace negotiations team Col.Than Aung, the Kachin state minister for Border Affairs. The seventh round of the talks to form a nationwide ceasefire agreement took place earlier this week in Rangoon.
The meeting held on December 22nd invoked officials from the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), an entity that represents many of Burma's armed ethnic groups and government representatives from the Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC). The KIO’s chief negotiator Maj-Gen Gun Maw did not attend the meeting which was also not attended by any representatives from the military. The KIO's absence appears to be related to the increase in tensions between the KIO and the government that has developed since the November 19th shelling attack on Laiza.
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