Myanmar junta forces torch KIA base in Hpakant Township

Myanmar army troops and members of a pro-junta militia destroyed a base and an administrative office operated by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township on Monday, according to local sources.

Although the KIA had abandoned its Wakha base, located about 6km west of the village of Shaduzup, two days earlier, residents of the area said they heard heavy fighting through the day.

Locals said that tensions had begun to build up on Sunday, as some 300 junta troops were deployed near Shaduzup as part of a push to drive out troops from the KIA’s Battalion 14, under Brigade 2, stationed in the area.

Clashes began at around 11am the next day, when the junta troops, together with members of a militia based in Shaduzup, began their attack on the Wakha base.

According to local residents, the military used both heavy artillery and airstrikes to repel the KIA forces.

“It wasn’t until the fighter jets arrived that we realised that the fighting had started. They came again at around 2pm. It’s so noisy right now,” said one Shaduzup villager.

Another resident of the village told Myanmar Now that the regime forces returned to Shaduzup at around 8pm, after setting fire to a KIA regional administration office.

“They torched the office, but it wasn’t a permanent one. They would just come and work there for a while and then go back,” he said.

There were no reported casualties from the fighting and no further clashes on Tuesday, residents said.

In July, junta soldiers from Infantry Battalion 297, which carried out Monday’s assault, attacked a KIA base in neighbouring Tanai Township, killing two KIA soldiers.

The KIA’s information officer, Col Naw Bu, was not available for comment on the latest attack when contacted by Myanmar Now.

The KIA is one of several ethnic armed groups in Myanmar that have condemned the military’s overthrow last year of the country’s elected civilian government.

Gen N’Ban La, the chair of the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation, has called for cooperation with resistance forces seeking to end military rule.

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