Resistance forces retreat after Hpakant camp comes under attack

KIA and PDF troops returned to the site of the camp, which was jointly operated by both armed groups, after junta soldiers left the area

Regime forces overran a resistance camp in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township early Monday morning, according to a People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighter based in the area.

The camp, which was jointly operated by PDF and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops, was located at a monastery in Hawng Par, a village about 30km west of the town of Hpakant.

“About 80 soldiers surrounded us and opened fire. They even used heavy artillery. Our sentry spotted them and fired the first shots, but they completely overwhelmed us, so we retreated,” said the PDF member.

The junta troops then proceeded to ransack the camp and seize a pistol, a car, two motorcycles, and some utensils, he added.

Pro-junta Telegram channels later posted photographs and reports claiming that five KIA fighters were killed in the attack and that ammunition was also seized. However, this information could not be independently verified.

Some residents of Hawng Par were also reportedly arrested and taken to Tamakhan, a village about 5km away where regime forces have been stationed for several days.

A resident of Tamakhan told Myanmar Now that soldiers based there opened fire on the resistance camp shortly before dawn.

“They started shelling sometime between 5 and 6 in the morning. They stopped a few minutes past 6am. No one from Tamakhan has fled, and it’s been fairly quiet since,” he said.

However, a Hawng Par resident said that most of the people living there had fled to the surrounding area because they feared the regime would carry out airstrikes.

“Some have fled to the forests and mountains and some are taking refuge in nearby villages. As for us, we’re staying in the nearby forest,” she said.

“I’m really afraid, so I won’t be returning to the village tonight. A heavy artillery shell just landed close to us,” she added.

According to the PDF fighter, the resistance forces returned to their camp soon after the departure of the junta troops.

Early last month, the KIA seized control of a military outpost on Ka Thine Hill near the Hpakant-Tamakhan road. A day later, the regime launched air and ground assaults to reclaim the base.

Since then, the road linking Hawng Par and Tamakhan to Hpakant has been closed. Traffic on other roads in the area is also restricted, according to locals.

The military has intensified its operations against the KIA in recent months. Since early July, it has massively built up its forces in the area around the ethnic armed group’s stronghold of Laiza, on the Myanmar-China border some 250km east of the jade-mining region of Hpakant.

The KIA has been a key ally of the anti-junta PDF since it was formed by Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government in the wake of the military’s February 2021 coup. 

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