KIA local command office in A Nang Pa targeted in military airstrike, shelling

The junta deployed fighter jets to bomb KIA sites near the area of Hpakant Township it targeted one year ago in a deadly aerial attack on civilians

Several officers in the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were reportedly killed in a Monday evening aerial bombing and ground attack on sites controlled by the ethnic armed organisation in the A Nang Pa area of Hpakant Township, Kachin State, according to local sources.

From Monday afternoon, mobile phone service to the area was cut, except for that provided by military-owned telecoms provider Mytel. Two fighter jets later dropped bombs near the command office for the KIA’s Brigade 9 in A Nang Pa, according to a spokesperson from the Kachin People’s Defence Force (PDF), a resistance group that fights alongside the KIA. 

He said that a bomb exploded at a golf course and another one at a market near the office and that the two places are near one another. 

The A Nang Pa area is 10 miles outside of the jade-rich Hpakant town.

After the aerial bombing, soldiers at a junta army base five miles south of A Nang Pa also fired 10 artillery shells at the area in question between 6pm and 8pm, according to Hpakant locals.

A local source close to the KIA said that one Kachin officer was killed in the aerial bombing of the command office, with “several” more killed by the shelling. 

Myanmar Now was unable to verify the number of casualties, and was still trying to reach KIA spokesperson Col Naw Bu for comment at the time of reporting. 

According to the KPDF spokesperson, the golf course hit on Monday is close to the area targeted in another military airstrike in October last year. A concert in A Nang Pa marking the 62nd anniversary of the KIA’s founding was bombed, initially killing at least 60 people, including civilians, performers and officers from the organisation; the death toll was later estimated by rescue workers to be more than 100.

On October 9 of this year, nearly 30 civilians were killed and more than 50 injured in a nighttime junta attack on the Mung Lai Hkyet village and internally displaced persons camp, located two miles north of the KIA headquarters in Laiza, on the Kachin-China border. 

The KIA suspected that the military carried out the assault using pilotless drones. The military council has denied the claim, alleging that it was the result of an explosion in a gunpowder warehouse. 

After reviewing images and video of the aftermath of the destruction in Mung Lai Hkyet, international advocacy and research group Human Rights Watch said this week that it likely constituted a war crime by the Myanmar army. 

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