KIA captures junta, SNA bases in Hpakant Township

The Kachin ethnic armed organisation took all three outposts, located southwest of the jade city of Hpakant, in one morning despite junta forces’ attempts to repulse them with heavy shelling

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) claims to have seized two military outposts in Hpakant Township, Kachin State on Monday morning, and one belonging to the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA) on the Sagaing-Kachin border.

According to KIA spokesperson Col. Naw Bu, between 50 and 60 soldiers were stationed at the first base captured by the Kachin ethnic armed group, located on Ka Thine Hill near the Hpakant-Tamakhan road around six miles southwest of Hpakant, at around 5:30am. 

Other fighters from Battalion 6 of KIA Brigade 9 then took hold of a junta base in Nam Hmaw village, located on the same road southwest of Hpakant, coming under heavy artillery fire as junta forces attempted to drive back the assault. 

“I’m informed that our forces are now conducting area clearing operations after seizing control of the bases,” said Col. Naw Bu.

The junta had been using the Ka Thine Hill base, located on the outskirts of the jade-producing city of Hpakant, to impose tight control on traffic approaching and leaving the city, according to a 30-year-old local man.

“It is the most strategically important junta base on the Hpakant-Tamakhan road. They used to conduct very strict security checks,” said the man, who asked not to be named. 

Several Hpakant residents said the gunfire had subsided by 8:30am on Monday, but that military forces continued shelling the area near the Ka Thine Hill using heavy artillery until around 1pm. Locals claimed that the military fired over 100 shells that day.

At around 8am shells started falling inside Nam Hmaw, where they damaged houses and injured civilians, according to a 30-year-old woman living in the village. She added that the artillery fire had displaced nearly all of Nam Hmaw’s residents to neighbouring villages and had severely injured a young child.

“We didn’t have any plan to flee at first, but I think the military was unhappy with their base being seized. They started to fire a lot of shells at us, so we had to flee in the end,” the local woman said.

Myanmar Now could not independently verify her claims about the child being injured or the extent of damage to the village. Further details remained unconfirmed at the time of reporting as fighting was still breaking out on the ground. 

The KIA also claimed to have taken an outpost belonging to the SNA—a Shanni ethnic armed group that has joined junta forces in fighting the KIA—near Sezin village some 40 miles southwest of Hpakant, on Kachin State’s border with Sagaing Region.

“There is a suspension bridge near Sezin, and there was an SNA base at that bridge. We received word that our ground forces had taken control of that base, but we don’t have the details yet. We do have confirmation that there were battles there,” Col. Naw Bu said.

Fighting between the KIA and junta forces has resumed and intensified in areas controlled by the ethnic armed group since the 2021 military coup in Myanmar. 

Joined by People’s Defence Force (PDF) allies under the command of the publicly mandated National Unity Government, the KIA also attacked a junta checkpoint at Hpakant’s Pantin Bridge in July. 

The SNA, founded in 1989, operates chiefly in Kachin State’s Mohnyin, Mogaung, Bhamo, and Myitkyina townships as well as in the adjacent Homalin, Hkamti, and Banmauk townships of upper Sagaing Region.

An alliance of anti-regime forces, including KIA fighters, also carried out attacks on SNA bases on the Sagaing-Kachin border in 2022. Despite fighting against the KIA and the PDF, the SNA has denied siding with Myanmar’s military, claiming only to be defending its territory against other armed groups. 

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