Burma Army Troops Take Hkaya Bum After Repeated Attacks
Burma Army troops continued attacks against Hkaya Bum, a mountaintop KIA position with north and south peaks connected by a saddle, which is one of the last lines of defense for Laiza. After a week of heavy fighting, Hkaya Bum fell to Burma Army troops on 26 January 2013.
The following is an account of military activity 22-26 January 2013:
22 January 2013: The Burma Army launched attacks on the north side of Hkaya Bum.
23 January 2013: About 8:00am – The Burma Army continued to attack the north side. In addition, the south side was hit briefly with medium machine gun fire. The Burma Army continued to reposition troops and heavy weapons into the area to support their attack on the KIA post and its supporting positions.
A single helicopter was seen landing on Ntat Bum, a hilltop Burma Army artillery position west of Hkaya Bum, with at least two 105mm guns. The same helicopter did a total of four supply runs carrying mortars and other supplies for Burma Army troops.
24 January 2013: 12:18 pm – On the north side of Hkaya Bum, the Burma Army fired 105mm artillery, as well as 60mm mortars. The Burma Army and the KIA briefly exchanged small arms fire on the south side, then the Burma Army broke contact. No direct attacks occurred on the west or east sides of the saddle between the two peaks of Hkaya Bum.
1:29 pm – Burma Army attacks continued from the north. Artillery and mortar fire to the north increased, but no ground attacks had yet taken place. Roughly every ten seconds the Burma Army fired 60mm mortars, with most impacting near the north and northeast KIA trenches at the top of the hill.
1:37 pm – Fighting becomes heavy in the north and northeast, with near constant small arms, medium and heavy machine guns, artillery, and mortars fire. The northwest side was not yet under direct attack. By this time, the Burma Army was firing from within 100 meters of the KIA trenches.
1:55 pm – Continuous mortar blasts hit the north. Occasional small arms fire on the north side, with KIA returning fire. When the Burma Army troops repositioned themselves there would be one- to two-minute lulls in indirect fire upon KIA troops.
4:20 pm – The area sees a surge in ground fighting and a reduction in indirect mortar and artillery fire as Burma Army troops fought at close range with KIA soldiers on the north side of the hill. Mortars began hitting the saddle between the north and south peaks of Hkaya Bum. To the west side of the saddle, Burma Army soldiers positioned themselves near KIA trenches and fired upon the western KIA trenches.
About 7:30 pm – Burma Army troops attacked Hkaya Bum at night, taking the northwest corner of the hill. During the day’s battle the Burma Army fired 1,260 rounds of artillery and mortars of varied sizes, including many 120mm and 105mm rounds. 25 January 2013: Some direct fighting and indirect fire continued as both sides repositioned. 26 January 2013: Between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, there was indirect fire on Hkaya Bum, gradually shifting from the northern peak to the south end of the two hilltops. About 11:00 am – Burma Army troops fired 105mm artillery and 120mm mortar rounds, with most landing on the north side of Hkaya Bum. 12:30 pm – An Mi17 cargo helicopter landed at Bum Re, a Burma Army artillery position approximately 3 kilometers southwest of Hkaya Bum. Immediately after the helicopter left this position, 120mm mortar attacks on the KIA post resumed.
About 1:30 pm – It was confirmed that Hkaya Bum had fallen to the Burma Army troops. 1:40 pm – Burma Army artillery and mortar rounds continued to hit the southeast slope of Hkaya Bum as KIA soldiers moved down the hill. Fighting earlier in the week is covered in the following reports: “Burma Army Attacks Since Ceasefire” and “Burma Army Attacks Against Kachin Continue Despite Ceasefire”.
Burma Army Tells Villagers to Leave Their Homes
On 22 January 2013, the Burma Army told the remaining residents of the villages of Na Lung, Man Mau, and Man Sai that they had to leave their homes. Each of those three locations is approximately 5 kilometers away from La Jai Yang, which is six kilometers west of Laiza. Na Lung village has two sections: one is Shan and one is Kachin; the Kachin section was abandoned before it was burned on 21 January 2013 by Burma Army troops.
May God Bless You,
Kachin Free Burma Rangers