Junta battalion reportedly defeated by KIA

An entire Myanmar military battalion was defeated by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State’s Momauk Township, local media has reported on Wednesday.

The regime’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 320 had been engaged in intensifying battles with Kachin forces for four days in an attempt to reclaim the strategic hilltop base of Alaw Bum in Momauk. 

“It’s been reported that there were a lot of deaths from the [Myanmar] military’s side,” KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu told the Kachin Waves news group. “I think the entire battalion is gone. There are only two or three soldiers left,” he said, referring to LIB 320. 

LIBs in theory should have at least 700 soldiers, but in practice often have much less– often only a few hundred troops. At the time of reporting, it was not known how many soldiers belonged to LIB 320.

The military has responded by sending troops from four more units to continue the assault on Alaw Bum, a local observer told Myanmar Now, including those from Light Infantry Divisions 77 and 88. 

Hundreds of ground troops and at least two fighter jets have been deployed in the regime’s attack on the base, which sits roughly 30km south of the KIA headquarters of Laiza, on the Kachin-China border. 

Myanmar’s military lost control of the base to the KIA on March 25. Since April 11, the armed forces have been launching ground attacks and air strikes in effort to reclaim it. 

April 12 saw a number of casualties on the Myanmar army’s side, including the head of LIB 387, whose body was reportedly retrieved by the military using a helicopter, a KIA officer reported. 

A local man told Myanmar Now that it was estimated that some 30 soldiers were captured by the KIA. 

The KIA’s Battalions 24 and 19 launched operations on Wednesday morning that killed 17 Myanmar soldiers, a source close to the KIA added.

As of Wednesday evening, Alaw Bum remained under KIA control. 

A source on the ground in Mai Ja Yang– another KIA stronghold on the Chinese border where many internally displaced people live– said the situation on Thursday remained “very tense.”

“We hear the sound of artillery every day. Civilians have been ordered to dig strong bunkers,” he told Myanmar Now, adding, “We are preparing for the worst.”

After the KIA intercepted and ambushed trucks carrying the junta’s reinforcement troops headed for Alaw Bum, the military has reportedly been using domestic passenger airplanes to send forces from Meikhtila in Mandalay Region to Bhamo, Kachin State. 

On April 14, these planes were used to fly in around 800 soldiers, sources close to the KIA reported. 

On the frontline in Hpakant Township, another battle continued on Wednesday between the KIA and the Myanmar military, with multiple casualties reported from the military’s side. Clashes have also been taking place in Putao, on the Myitkyina-Tanai road, and in Mogok in Mandalay Region. 

The number of deaths and casualties from the KIA side is yet to be confirmed.  

The military junta, which is also repressing anti-dictatorship protesters nationwide, has not released any reports on the battles with the KIA. 


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