9 February 2014
Kachin State, Burma
The Burma Army continues attacks in Nam Lim Pa area in their attempt to drive out the Kachin people and control this part of Kachin State.
The Burma Army continues its attacks with Burma Army Battalions 276 and 601, and other troops from Northern Command attacking between Nam Han, Nam Gau, Nam Lim Pa and Kong Run Villages, south of Bhamo, Kachin State, Burma. The attacks began on the morning of 30 January 2014, when Burma Army troops attacked Nam Gau Village, capturing over 20 villagers, merchants, truck drivers and trucks. They looted the village, destroyed and scattered the families’ belongings, taking captives and 24 trucks with over 100 tons of wood back to the area between Nam Han and Kong Run.
Villagers fled the area, and one man had a bullet hole in his motor bike wheel from where Burma Army troops shot at him as he was driving away from the village. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA – an ethnic pro-democracy resistance group) arrived at the village to help those who had escaped return to gather their belongings and livestock. The Burma Army then came back to attack the village on the evening of the 30 January. There was rifle grenade and small arms fire as the two sides engaged during the night, under 100 meters apart.
The next morning fighting intensified as Burma Army Battalion 276 was reinforced and began shelling the village with 60mm and 81 mm mortars. Attacks were also enforced with infantry assaults supported by RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and rifle grenades. During this time one KIA soldier was killed and two were wounded, but the KIA held their position. Just before sunset on 31 January, Burma Army Battalion 601 joined in the attack, using heavy mortar, machine gun and RPG fire as the Burma Army assaulted through the villages, pushing the KIA out. The KIA lost the village, and Burma Army troops began looting the homes in the villages.
In response, the KIA went around behind the Burma Army and surrounded the base near Kong Run that the assault was launched from. This forced the Burma Army troops to withdraw from Nam Gau Village and go defend their garrison. The KIA then secured Nam Gau again and helped villagers and merchants evacuate their belongings.
The Burma Army attacked the KIA near Kong Run Village on 7 February and fighting continues. As of this report the Burma Army continues to hold 10 captives and 24 trucks.
From our view, the Burma Army attacks the Kachin in this area for three main reasons:
1. To subjugate the population, and prevent them from supporting the KIA and Kachin government (Kachin Independence Organization- KIO).
2. To drive out the KIA/KIO, consolidate their control over this part of Kachin State, and cut the Kachin off from Shan and Ta’ang allies in Northern Shan State.
3. To have total control over the resources in this area, as well as logging routes that cross through this area.
Most villagers have fled the attacks that have continued nonstop since 2011. The most recent displacements were in November and December 2013, when over 2,000 people fled, and in January 2014 through the present. In this area alone there have been over 200 attacks in the past three years. Many told us they believe the Burma Army wants to do away with them and have the Kachin lands for themselves.
God bless you,
Kachin Free Burma Rangers
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