Kachin army launches attack on junta infantry base in Myanmar’s north

The junta accused the Brotherhood Alliance of taking part in the attack days after a ceasefire agreement.
By RFA Burmese
2024.01.16
Kachin army launches attack on junta infantry base in Myanmar’s north Kachin Independence Army soldiers on the frontline.
Kachin Independence Army

An ethnic armed group attempted to capture a city in northeastern Myanmar, residents in the area told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. 

After the Kachin Independence Army attacked Kutkai’s junta infantry battalion on Monday, about 100 regime soldiers fled the area with their families, sources close to the junta said. Infantry Battalion 123 is located in Kutkai township’s Nam Hpat Kar village, roughly 55 kilometers [34 miles] from China’s border.

A ceasefire was called in northern Shan state on Thursday between junta troops and the Three Brotherhood Alliance, composed of three ethnic armed groups. The alliance is made up of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army. 

Despite the ceasefire brokered by China during talks in Kunming, other groups opposed to junta control are continuing to seize territory in the northeast. 

The junta claimed the Ta’ang National Liberation Army was involved in the attack on Kutkai.

The Kachin Independence Army launched their attack on Infantry Battalion 123 on Sunday night and captured it the following morning, a Kutkai resident said, asking to remain nameless for fear of reprisals. 

“The camp has been captured by the KIA since Monday morning. Since the camp was captured, locals in Nam Hpat Kar village fled because the military junta retaliated with heavy artillery and airstrikes,” he told RFA. “This camp was mainly attacked by the 4th and 10th KIA battalions.”

The Kachin Independence Army seized weapons and ammunition from this camp, locals said, adding that bodies of junta soldiers were also found. However, RFA could not independently verify these claims.

A group of more than 50 soldiers in Nam Hpat Kar village’s Infantry Battalion 123 often fired at nearby villages with heavy weapons, locals said.

Despite locals claiming the ethnic armed force has succeeded, junta media and the Kachin Independence Army both stated the outcome is still unclear.

The Kachin Independence Army’s information officer Col. Naw Bu told RFA that the group shot down a junta fighter jet around 12 pm on Tuesday. Despite this, he added the capture of the base is not official yet.

“I have seen posts [about the capture] on social media. The frontline hasn’t reported yet that the camp has been captured,” he said. “But I would like to say that there is nothing impossible under the military situation.”

Some of the nearly 100 soldiers fleeing the infantry battalion’s base had been injured in the attack, independent media outlets reported, citing military officials. 

The Kachin Independence Army has not yet captured the base, according to an update on Tuesday from the junta’s Defense Service, adding that reports from local outlets were fake news.

The Kachin Independence Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army attacked the junta base using “superior force and drones,” the statement said. It added regime soldiers and their family members managed to resist the attacks, and retaliated by shooting only at Kachin Independence Army soldiers responsible for the attack. 

RFA called military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun on Tuesday afternoon to learn more about the attack, but he did not respond by the time of publication.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.

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