Myanmar army launches major offensive against KIA bases

Myanmar army launches major offensive against KIA bases

SAM Staff,

KIA personnel travel in a convoy near the group’s headquarters in Laiza, Kachin State. Photo: The Irrawaddy

The Myanmar military (or Tatmadaw) attacked the Kachin Independence Army’s headquarters and other bases on Wednesday in a major new offensive including both ground and air strikes, according to local sources. The attacks follow the KIA’s raid on a Tatmadaw base earlier this week.

KIA spokesperson Colonel Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the Tatmadaw was using artillery to shell areas surrounding the KIA’s headquarters in Laiza.

“They started shelling our Laiza headquarters at 2 pm [local time]. They also attacked some of our other bases. They used fighter jets to strike KIA Brigade 2 and KIA Battalion 11,” Col Naw Bu said.

Brigade 2 and Battalion 11 are based in the Hukawng Valley, where the KIA recently announced the launch of a guerrilla-style military offensive, including the laying of landmines, against the Tatmadaw. Illegal mine workers in the area were given a deadline of April 10 to leave the area.

The Tatmadaw’s attacks killed one civilian banana plantation worker and wounded three others on Wednesday, according to the Northern Alliance.

Col Naw Bu confirmed that some civilians had been wounded.

The Northern Alliance is a bloc of armed ethnic groups including the KIA, TNLA, AA, and MNDAA. It issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that the civilian casualties occurred when a shell landed on the plantation at 4 pm local time.

More than 100,000 people remain displaced from their homes after a 17-year ceasefire between the central government and the KIA collapsed in 2011.