Burmese government forces on Wednesday continued their ground offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) near the village of Nam Sang Yawng in Kachin State while supported by two fighter jets and two helicopter gunships, said Maj. Min Htay, the information officer of the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) Northern Branch.
“Hostilities broke out this morning [Wednesday] when the Burmese army launched an assault from the direction of Nam Sang Yawng,” he said. “The fighting started at about 8 am. Then at 11:30, the aircraft attacked. Later, two helicopter gunships came and fired on us.”
A resident in Laiza said that she could see the two fighter jets flying overhead and heard them attacking from her shelter at a refugee camp in the city.
Lamai Gum Ja, a peace broker in Myitkyina who has been involved in negotiations between the two sides, told Mizzima that Burmese military planes and helicopters have flown in from Kachin State capital Myitkyina almost every day for the past week.
On December 30, the Burmese air force carried out an air strike against the KIA’s military unit 771 based near Laja Yang Village, forcing some Kachin troops to retreat to fresh positions, according to ABSDF’s Maj. Min Htay, adding that the rebel forces still have control of Laja Yang despite Burmese claims that they overran the base.
On Wednesday, government forces fired artillery from three positions—Bum Seng Mountain, Man Te Mountain and Hkan Gai Mountain—on the KIA positions at Laja Yang, the KIO said.
The KIO insist that the Burmese military conducted air strikes with fighter jets and helicopter gunships on December 28, though the government refutes the claims.
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