The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) claims it killed a major and seven lower-ranking soldiers from the Burmese army on Monday during clashes at Dung Waw in northern Shan State, according to Kachin News, quoting a Kachin commander at the frontline.
It said that the previous evening, government forces fatally wounded a KIA lance corporal and a young boy.
The announcement came following two days of fighting in the Dung Waw area, Kachin News said, between a Burmese military column consisting of more than 200 troops and the KIA's 4th brigade.
The 4th Brigade territory includes a stretch between Namtu and Muse slated to be the route for twin pipelines which will transport oil and gas from Burma’s Arakan coast to China’s Yunnan province. Fighting has been frequent along this part of the pipeline corridor, said the report.
Although Naypyidaw has refrained from announcing any figures, the KIO claims that thousands of Burmese troops have been killed or wounded since the campaign began in June 2011.
“According to the KIO,” Kachin News reported in January, “intercepts of army radio communication reveal a staggering number of fatally wounded soldiers on the part of the Tatmadaw [official name of the Burmese army].”
Representatives from the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization, have met several times for peace talks with a Burmese government delegation, most recently in Ruili in China, but without any concrete outcome.
Hostilities ending a 17-year cease-fire broke out in June 2011 following government demands that the KIA join the Burmese army’s border guard
The Burmese government has signed at least 10 cease-fire agreements with ethnic armed groups over the past 18 months, the KIA being the only major ethnic army resisting.