Ethnic army seizes major trade route on Myanmar-Chinese border

The Kachin Independence Army says it captured five junta camps in two days.
By RFA Burmese
2024.03.29
Ethnic army seizes major trade route on Myanmar-Chinese border The Kachin Independence Army captured junta camp Yaw Yung Artillery near Lwegel city in Momauk township, Kachin state.
The Kachin Net

An ethnic army seized five military junta camps near the Myanmar-Chinese border, residents told Radio Free Asia on Friday.

During an offensive, the Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, captured encampments under junta Battalion 366 near Kachin state’s Momauk township. The seizure also gave the ethnic armed group partial control of a China-Myanmar border trade road after the Thursday offensive.

Since Myanmar’s February 2021 coup, fighting between the KIA and junta forces has raged for weeks at a time over the state’s lucrative jade mines and the rebel army’s historical stronghold near its headquarters on the Myanmar-China border.

The KIA now controls portions of two major trade roads in the state since its partial capture of the domestic Myitkyina-Bhamo highway in early March, in addition to a junta camp under Battalion 142 in Momauk township. A battle further north in Lai Zar caused shells to land in China, burning down several houses, residents said. 

One resident told RFA that the junta retaliated with air strikes after Yaw Yung Artillery and Hpaleng Hill camps were captured Thursday.

“Yaw Yung was entirely captured and Hpaleng camp was also captured yesterday,” he said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. “The junta’s air force came to open fire while KIA troops were confiscating things in these camps after the captures.”

Yaw Yung is an important strategic camp because of the high-level commander stationed there and its proximity to trading posts with China, residents living near the captured camps said. 

Kachin army troops are currently stationed in Lwegel city, about 11 kilometers (seven miles) from Yaw Yung Artillery camp, residents said, adding that they are negotiating with junta troops and administration staff on their exit from the city.

RFA contacted Kachin state’s junta spokesperson Moe Min Thein and KIA spokesperson Col. Naw Bu on the junta’s surrender, but neither responded.

A statement on the KIA's Facebook page on March 28, said three camps were captured on the 27th and two on the 28th, namely Shan Tai, Bang Yau, Law Mun, Hpaleng and Yaw Yung.

The KIA and joint guerilla armies have captured over 40 junta camps in Momauk and Waingmaw townships near the KIA’s headquarters in Lai Zar city in Kachin state as of Thursday. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn.

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