More than 1,000 casualties in the Kachin campaign: Army report

According to a report that recently slipped out from the Burma Army’s Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command (NERC), it had suffered more than 1,000 casualties during the period, September-December 2012, while fighting against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

It was an excerpt from the speech given by Brig-Gen Aung Soe, NERC commander, to the meeting in Lashio, 7-8 February 2013, which was a follow-up to the tri-annual meeting of top commanders in Naypyitaw:

The Burma Army had deployed 10 infantry divisions in the campaign. There were 355 engagements between the two sides, 95 of which were heavy ones. “The army had lost more than 1,000 due to lack of experience,” he said. “Nevertheless, we successfully occupied all the targeted outposts and strongholds by intensive use of heavy weapons and air support.”

Lt. Gen. Myint Soe (L) and KIA Deputy Chief of Staff Gun Maw (R) shake hands after signing an agreement to cease hostilities in Kachin state, May 30, 2013. (Photo: AFP)

He did not mention the number of casualties sustained by the army since 9 June 2011 when the campaign began.

He read out the order issued by Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing at the conclusion of the meeting, which included:

  • Total annihilation of the KIA’s 4th Brigade (that operates in Shan State) and the remnant Kokang movement led by Peng Jia-sheng
  • Clearance of all armed groups along the Nawng Khio-Namkham highway
  • Establishment of strongholds along the Salween’s west bank (opposite Wa) and the construction of all weather road to the said strongholds
  • Heightened security for the Sino-Arakan oil/gas pipelines as well as the Shweli hydropower plants (in Namkham)

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political arm of the KIA, signed a 7 point agreement with Naypyitaw on 30 May in Myitkyina, which included reduction of fighting and avoiding further clashes, and an opening of a liaison office. The liaison office was opened in Myitkyina on 24 July, attended by Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min. But the fighting has continued, just as it has with the Shan State Army (SSA) North and South factions that had signed ceasefire on 28 January 2012 and 2 December 2011 respectively.


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