Burma Army Offensive in Danai Township: June 2017
6 July 2017
Danai Township, Kachin State
Military conflict in Burma/Myanmar is a daily occurrence. For 70 years the Burmese civil war has been raging and the villagers of Kachin State are accustomed to listening for trouble. Before dawn on June 3rd, N-ga Ga villagers heard sounds of gunfire close to their village. At 0900 the villagers knew they had to run away from their homes.
On June 3rd at 0500 five Burma Army Infantry Battalions (IB) initiated an attack against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) Maisak Post located three miles from N-ga Ga Village, Danai Township, Kachin State, Burma. Fifty Burma Army soldiers assaulted the post while another 50 soldiers sat in ambush along the Nam Hpyet River. After 30 minutes of fighting the Burma Army soldiers captured Maisak Post, whereupon the soldiers began to use indirect fire (mortars) against N-ga Village, which has 30 households. The villagers fled to Nam Byu Village, five miles from N-ga Ga.
Forty mortar rounds impacted in and around N-ga Ga Village. Mortar rounds were also fired at and impacted within the KBC Church campus of Nam Byu Village where the internally displaced people (IDP) from N-ga Ga Village sought sanctuary from June 3rd – 6th.
One day after the attack, on June 04, the Burma Army dropped leaflets by helicopter warning villagers, “The illegal mining (gold, amber) areas in Hugawng Danai will be cleared. All miners, day laborers, market-sellers and civilian dwellers must return home not beyond 15 June (the latest on June 15); he or she will be recognized as an enemy, part of KIA (Kachin Independence Army) if not returning on the said day.”
At 0900 on June 6th, 200 households comprising 409 people fled N-Ga Ga Village and Nam Byu Village to Danai town. The villagers had to leave behind clothes, livestock, and other personal belongings. Upon arriving in Danai town the villagers were required to check in with the Danai Burma Army Regional Operations Command (ROC). The villagers, including the elderly and young, were held in a Buddhist monastery and denied food by the Danai ROC until 2300 when the villagers were released. The villagers were then provided food and shelter at the KBC Church campus in Danai.
At 1500 on June 7th a mortar round landed on the house of Mr. Hpauyam Gam and caused the roof to catch on fire. Another 100 villagers also fled the Danai region via motorboat. On June 8th the Burma Army initiated a ban on river transport, preventing more villagers from a quick departure from the area. On the 13th the river was reopened to travel and another 300 villagers used boats to flee. The IDPs are from four villages: N-ga Ga, Nam Byu, Htang Bra, and Kawng Ra. The IDPs formed four camps in Danai town: KBC Church Campus, RC Church Campus, Lisu Anglican Church Campus, and Lisu National Development Party (LNDP) Campus. There were more than 2000 IDPs at the camps. As of August many of the villagers were still displaced in Danai Town.
The five battalions in the Regional Operation Command (ROC) Base: IB-238, IB-289, IB-297, IB-318 and IB-86. All five battalions participated in the offensive.