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Kachin independence army attacks Myanmar Military outpost

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KIA fighters at Mai Ja Yang in Kachin State. / The Irrawaddy

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) carried out a pre-dawn attack on a Myanmar military outpost near the village of Selzin in Hpakant Township, Kachin State, on Thursday.

KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu confirmed the KIA Battalion 26 attack.

“It has been nearly two months since the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s military] carried out operations in territory controlled by our Brigade 4 in northern Shan State. There have been clashes almost every day in territories held by Battalions 9 and 36. Perhaps the Thursday attack was organized by a [KIA] commander to help another. It was not ordered by KIA headquarters,” said Col. Naw Bu.

KIA troops withdrew without occupying the outpost it seized. Following the KIA’s raid, Myanmar’s military attacked the KIA Battalion 26 headquarters with helicopters.

There have been few major clashes between Myanmar’s military and the KIA since late 2018 and the two sides were in the process of negotiating a ceasefire. Military tensions resurfaced when the Tatmadaw attacked four KIA outposts in northern Shan State after its Feb. 1 coup.

Myanmar’s military governing body, the State Administrative Council, declared that it would continue the peace process with ethnic armed organizations. But the KIA said it would stand by the people and has refused to recognize the military regime.

Following anti-regime protests in Kachin State, the KIA called on the military’s Northern Command not to use live ammunition against protesters. However, two protesters were killed during the crackdown on Monday.

The KIA, following the incident, has threatened to retaliate if more violence is used against protesters.