Hundreds flee homes as KIA clashes with junta’s forces in Hpakant 

Hundreds of people fled their homes on Sunday as fighting intensified between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the junta’s armed forces in Hpakant township. 

“They’ve used heavy artillery. The fighting is still going on now, we can still hear the sound of heavy artillery,” a resident told Myanmar Now on Monday afternoon. 

The clashes are taking place around the village of Kansee and residents have taken shelter in religious buildings. 

“That place was where the KIA’s Battalion 6 was stationed before 2011,” the resident added. “The army captured the base in a past fight and now the KIA is fighting back.” 

There have been no reports of civilian casualties, but communications in the area have also been disrupted, he said.

During Sunday’s clash, the KIA attacked a Myanmar military convoy with a landmine. 

KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu confirmed the clashes in Hpakant township and added that there was also fighting near the town of Hopin.

“Fighting broke out in the area around our Brigade 8 too,” he said. “The military council’s armed forces mounted airstrikes.” Brigade 8 is based to the east of Hopin.

Earlier this month the military launched a massive offensive in a bid to reclaim the strategically important Alaw Bum base, near the Chinese border. 

The KIA has held onto the hill station, reportedly wiping out an entire Tatmadaw battalion in the process.  

Fighting has since died down in the area, but Colonel Naw Bu said the junta has replenished its forces “in order to launch a military offensive” again.

After years of relative peace in Kachin, the KIA has launched numerous offensives in recent weeks in the wake of the military’s February 1 coup.


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