FBR Report: Burma Army Attacks Against the Kachin Since Ceasefire Declared

21 January, 2013
Kachin State, Burma

The Burma Army is continuing attacks against the Kachin in multiple areas in spite of an announced ceasefire. On Friday, 18 January 2013, the Government of Burma declared a ceasefire for fighting in Kachin State, to take effect at 6am Saturday, 19 January 2013.  

Village Burned by Burma Army, Monday 21 January 2013

At 2pm on 21 January, the Burma Army began burning houses in Na Long, a village of approximately 100 houses.  Na Long is 9km west of Lajayang, which is 6km west of Laiza.  The fires were visible from Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions atop Hkaya Bum.  It is unknown whether any of Na Long’s residents were still in the village.

Attacks on Hkaya Bum on Sunday, 20 January 2013 and Monday, 21 January 2013

Hkaya Bum is a mountaintop KIA position, one of the last lines of defense of Laiza, a city home to many civilians and refugees.  These events took place on Sunday 20 January:

About 9am –  About 60 Burma Army soldiers closed and exchanged fire with KIA lines on the southern part of Hkaya Bum.

10:30 to 11:45am –  Burma Army 120mm mortar fire hit the north and northeast approaches (outlying ridges to the peak) to Hkaya Bum.

11:40am – A Burma Army supply helicopter approached and landed on a hilltop roughly 3 km west of the KIA position.

12:00pm – Burma Army troops started attacking the KIA lines on the northeast front of Hkaya Bum with small arms, machine guns and an RPG.  The fighting started from within 300 meters of the KIA lines.  Supporting artillery and mortars began within minutes, landing mostly on the northern side of Hkaya Bum, near the KIA lines.  This artillery and mortar support was sustained into the early evening.

About 12:10pm – The Burma Army started attacking with small arms and machine gun fire from the north very close to the KIA lines as well.

12:30pm – The Burma Army started attacking from the northwest, in some places within 50m of the KIA’s last trench line on the hilltop.

2:00pm – The Burma Army began tossing hand grenades at KIA positions on the north and northeast sides of the hill.  A Burma Army MG-42 machine gun was positioned within 50m of KIA positions.  Fighting continued into the early evening.

Burma Army attacks on Hkaya Bum continued on Monday 21 January:

8:00am – The Burma Army resumed attacks, coming from the west and striking against KIA positions on a saddle between the north and south hilltops of Hkaya Bum.  The Burma Army used 60mm, 81mm and 82mm mortars in its attack.

About 1pm – The Burma Army began an attack from the southeast side of Hkaya Bum, also firing 120mm mortars near the road linking Hkaya Bum and Laiza.  Mortar fire was sustained into the mid-afternoon.

As of late Monday, the KIA still holds its position on Hkaya Bum.

Fighting near Hpakant, 20 January

Starting at 1pm, Sunday 20 January, battalions from Burma Army Military Operation Command (MOC) 7 attacked KIA Battalion 6 at Seng Ra Village, using small arms and 81mm mortars.  Villagers fled south to avoid the fighting.

Burma Army attacks and activities on Saturday, 19 January

As previously reported, the Burma Army broke its own ceasefire hours after it was supposed to begin at 6am:

  • In the Mai Ja Yang area, the Burma Army has fired 105mm artillery and 120mm mortars on Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions for most of the day.
  • The Burma Army fired mortars near Lajayang between 10am and 2pm.
  • Approximately 150 troops moved into the Lajayang area.
  • Helicopters resupplied troops in the Lajayang area.

During the early hours of Saturday morning, Burma Army troops resupplied and maneuvered into attack positions without harassment from the KIA, which honored the ceasefire.  Fighting continues as more displaced people attempt to reach safety.

God bless you,

Kachin Free Burma Rangers