Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fresh fighting breaks out between army, KIA in Mansi

Fresh fighting between the Myanmar army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke out near Mongnaung village in Mansi yesterday morning, according to locals and the Northern Command of the army.

A refugee from a Mongkhaung village refugee camp said: “More than 100 people from 44 households have run away from the fighting and arrived here. There was no fighting at their village but tensions are high. Both sides exchanged fire from 6am until 10am. I heard that it is because the KIA arrested a street vendor for illegal drug dealings.”

Peace negotiators from Myitkyina confirmed the clashes, but they said they have no knowledge of war refugees. They reported on the fighting to the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC).

“We heard the army made an operation in a KIA-controlled area after the KIA arrested a woman who had been accused of selling drugs. The army threatened to rescue the woman if the KIA did not release her. Litekar village, where she was arrested, was once a KIA base,” said the peace negotiators.

The district administrator of Banmaw said he has no information about the clashes because the area has no rule of law. The election officer of Banmaw district said there are three polling stations in Mongkhaung village but none in Litekar village.

A senior military officer from the Northern Command said: “They fired five or six shots at us. We notified the peace negotiators to negotiate the release of the vendor, but they haven’t replied to us.”

Fighting between the Myanmar army and then KIA has recurred in Mansi since September 8, said both the Northern Command and the KIA technical advisor office.

On September 7, KIA mined a military convoy in the forest between Khachin and Kaunglwin villages, killing a class-2 warrant officer and injuring 15 soldiers.

The army and KIA clashed in Mansi from May 5 until May 24 this year, and the army used fighter jets, according to the Northern Command and peace negotiators based in Kachin State.

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