Battles ongoing near KIA headquarters in Kachin State

Junta forces have repeatedly clashed with Kachin fighters and attacked villages on a highway running several miles west of the KIA stronghold of Laiza since July

Fighting between the military and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has continued along the Myitkyina-Bhamo road near the ethnic armed group’s command centre, according to a KIA spokesperson.

A month after the military attempted to retake the village of Nam Sang Yang in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township, some 12 miles from the KIA’s headquarters, fighting broke out in the villages of Ma Li Yang and Jar Pu located on the same highway some 20 miles north of Nam Sang Yang on Thursday morning.

“A battle broke out between us and the junta reinforcements from Myitkyina. We were only fighting defensively. We still don’t know how many of them there were,” said Col. Naw Bu, the KIA information officer.

The battle lasted until noon, with the exact number of casualties on both sides unconfirmed, Col. Naw Bu added.

A local villager from Ka Tsu Yang, located nine miles from the scene of battle, claimed to have heard gunfire during the clash.

“We could hear artillery and gunshots going off, but it all stopped around 11am as it started to rain heavily. I think the battle this morning was especially serious. We heard heavy weapons firing several times,” the villager said.

According to local sources, the junta forces also shelled Nam Sang Yang using heavy artillery after positioning themselves on a nearby hill.

The military has been carrying out assaults in the vicinity of the KIA’s stronghold in Laiza since early July. The fighting has been concentrated around Nam Sang Yang, which is located at the intersection of the Myitkyina-Bhamo highway and a road leading directly to Laiza.

The junta air force also conducted airstrikes on Nam Sang Yang at least three times in July, forcing the inhabitants to flee their homes.

Hundreds of soldiers have been deployed near Nam Sang Yang village from junta bases in Bhamo, Dawthponeyan, Myitkyina, and Waingmaw. Military forces have targeted the KIA near Hpakant, a jade-producing city in western Kachin State, as well as near their stronghold in Laiza, Waingmaw Township.

According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies’ records, more than 100 battles have occurred on the northeastern front of Myanmar’s internal conflict, including Kachin state, since May of this year.

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