Around 500 civilians in a KIO-controlled section of the Hpakant jade mining district fled their village over the weekend to escape approaching Burmese army troops in the area.
By Sunday, most of the group had taken shelter in the area's Baptist and Catholic churches.
One villager said a Burmese army column with more than 100 troops has taken up positions near Maw Mau Bum ahead of an expected attack on nearby posts held by the Kachin Independence Army's 6th Battalion, according to a story on the Kachin News Group website on Monday.
The last major clash in the Jade mining region came on May 31, when government artillery fell on civilians in Seng Tawng, the second largest town in the Hpakant area, killing one and injuring six others, according to reports.
The Hpakant region is the world’s only source of true Jadedite.
On August 6, Mizzima reported that government and KIO peace talks had stalled over a suitable site for the next peacemaking negotiation session, which is proving no simple task to negotiate.
Meanwhile, armed clashes with casualties and wounded continue to occur.
The government wants to meet in government-controlled areas. The KIO said, “No.” It proposed Ruili, in Yunnan Province, China. The government said, “No.”
So far, the KIO has also turned down proposals to meet in Bhamo or Muse, government-controlled areas. The KIO has proposed Prang Ngawn or Ruili.
“If they [the government] agree to a meeting at a location proposed by the KIO, we can set the date. But we refuse to meet in Bhamo (Manmaw) or Muse because it’s just not a good idea. We suggested Prang Ngawn but they said no. It’s our policy to have strict rules about where our leaders meet with the Burmese government,” Lah Na, a KIO spokesperson, told KNG.
Some of the locations that the government peace team has suggested are used by the Burmese military to conduct offensives against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), he said.
“They proposed meeting us in Bhamo… . It’s not safe to meet there, they may have a plan. They have reinforced their troops in the area for more offensives against the KIA,” said Lah Nan.