Fighting resumed today (Saturday) roughly at 4 p.m. local time between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Burma’s northern Kachin State, after stopping Thursday for nearly two days, quoting KIA officers Kachin News Group [KNG]said.

Fighting broke out for nearly on 9 June (Thursday) between Kachin and Burmese troops in Bhamo District in Kachin State. The skirmishing started between the Burmese Army’s Momauk-based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 437 and the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) Battalion No. 15, under Brigade 3. It occurred at the KIA-controlled Sang Gang Village in Momauk Township in Bhamo District, according to KIA officials at the Laiza headquarters, in eastern Kachin State.

The heavy fighting is taking place at Sang Gang, in N’mawk Township, in Manmaw (Bhamo) District, in Kachin State, the same location of Thursday’s fighting. The sound of small guns and heavy mortars can be heard from the battle areas, according to local witnesses.

Today fighting started after the KIA turned down a deadline claimed by the Burmese Army to follow a complete withdrawal from the KIA’s Bum Sen stronghold in Sang Gang, by today, Saturday, June 11th, at 12 p.m. The KIA refused to follow the deadline and stated that it will never abandon Bum Sen Post, according KIA officials in Laiza Headquarters, in eastern Kachin State.

The Bum Sen Post is situated at a strategic position which connects the KIA’s Brigade 3 Command at Maijayang and the General Headquarters at Laiza, KIA officials said.

According to local sources, in excess of 500 Burmese troops from more than three battalions are deployed in Sang Gang. Burmese battalions around Manmaw District are marching into the battle zone in order to reinforce their troops.

The Manmaw-based Infantry Battalion No. 237, N’mawk-based Light Infantry Battalion No. 437 and Dawhpumyang-based Infantry Battalion No. 142 are taking position among the Burmese troops in the combating area, according to the KIA.

On Friday, the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) temporarily stopped fighting after exchange of live and dead captives, KIA officials said. The dead body of a KIA civilian fighter, Lance-Corporal Sau Ying was exchanged for six Burmese Army captives, including two officers, on Thursday, June 9 at 6 p.m. at the frontline, according to the frontline sources. Corporal Sau Ying was not killed in action but died due to brutal tortures by Burmese soldiers after he was arrested. It clearly proved that Burmese military did not follow the International Laws for prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention of 1949.

James Lundau, spokesperson of the KIA, told Democratic Voice of Burma that he believes the government wanted to maintain the ceasefire. “President Thein Sein said he wants to keep the door open to dialogue and we agree with him – we’ll just have to negotiate with high-ranking officials.”

In hope of setting up political dialogue, the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement with the central government on February 24, 1994 and supported the military-favored 2008 constitution.

No political dialogue happened in the 16-year ceasefire time and the KIO was intimidated to remove weapons and transform into the Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) before the November 7 election.

The KIO cast off the BGF plan, saying it cannot accept transformation of its armed wing.

KIA officials repeatedly said the civil war will spread across Kachin and Shan states if the government starts a war with the KIO. The latest series of armed clashes in Kachin state have prompted observers to think that intentional war in the border regions may not be preventable.

In such a situation, no one in the country will believe President Thein Sein government’s propaganda of good governance policy and poverty alleviation agenda. At the same time, it has no idea of going along a meaningful dialogue path in quest of a peaceful and prosperous nation in the ASEAN family.