KIA clashes with junta soldiers in Hpakant and Mohnyin 

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) clashed with the Myanmar military in Hpakant and Mohnyin townships on Wednesday, a little under a week after the junta launched airstrikes against the rebel group in Mohnyin.

About 50 soldiers from the junta’s Infantry Battalion 42 attacked KIA territory near Nyaung Htauk village in Mohnyin at around 8am, said Colonel Naw Bu, the KIA’s information officer.  

“We were only defending against them; they were heading towards our base on the ground,” he told Myanmar Now. The territory is under the control of the KIA’s Brigade 9. 

The clash ended at about 6pm. Naw Bu did not disclose details of casualties. 

There was another clash the same day near Wailon village, which sits along the road linking Hpakant with Mohnyin, about 17 miles from Hpakant’s urban center. 

A junta artillery unit from Hpakant fired around 30 shells at the site of the clash between 3pm and 8pm, a local said. “The shelling from Hpakant was so loud that my house was shaken,” he said.

The same artillery unit fired five more shells on Thursday morning, he said. 

Soldiers stationed near Hway Long have been demanding bribes from people passing along the road there, charging 5,000 kyat per vehicle and up to 3,000 kyat per person, he added. 

Vehicles travelling from Hpakant to Mohnyin had to turn back on Wednesday because of the clashes, he said. 

There was a third clash on Wednesday near Kwingyi village between Mohnyin and Nanmar townships, but Myanmar Now was unable to gather further details. 

Locals have estimated that some 30 soldiers died in two of Wednesday’s clashes but Myanmar Now was unable to verify this. The junta rarely comments publicly on clashes in Kachin State. 

The KIA has teamed up with newly formed resistance groups of the People’s Defence Force to attack junta targets in the townships of  Shweku, Katha, Htigyaing, Kawlin and Wuntho in recent months. 

Last week’s airstrikes targeted the KIA’s Battalion 26. There were no injuries from the strikes, the KIA said. 

There have been hundreds of clashes between the KIA and the junta’s forces in Kachin since the February 1 coup. In May the KIA shot down a military helicopter in Momauk Township.

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