The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has reported renewed clashes with the Burmese army despite a preliminary peace deal agreed with the government just two weeks ago.
The KIO said hostilities resumed on 15 October, causing the death of one child with two persons injured.
According to the KIO’s Peace-making Work Committee spokesperson Dau Kha, clashes resumed in the Kachin Independence Army’s 3rd Brigade territory in Bhamo district less than a week after the peace talks concluded in Kachin state capital Myitkyina.
“There were about 10 battalions under the Burmese army’s 21st Military Operation Command deployed for a so-called ‘training exercise’ in Bhamo district,” he said. “We found the troops behaving unusually. But, as we were reaching out to them, they started deploying more troops to the frontlines, which led to engagements.
“I can assure you there was no deliberate intention to engage on our part,” said Dau Kha.
He said one child was killed and two other individuals were injured and hospitalised in the clashes while some 1,000 internally displaced persons in Aungja camp were forced to flee their shelters as artillery shelling neared. Around 600 IDPs who were unable to flee were reportedly rounded up in a local church by the Burmese army.
“We are trying to contact directly the general staff officer of Northern Region Military Command to try to put an immediate end to the fighting,” Dau Kha said, adding that the head of the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee, Minister Aung Min, has also been informed of the situation.
The Kachin National Organisation (KNO) condemned the government forces for clashing with the KIO, claiming it was violation of the peace agreement with the group.
“We see that the clashes were not accidental but more a deliberate move by the Burmese army,” said the KNO’s Lashi Kaihtan. “Moreover, they have trapped many IDPs using artillery shelling – this is completely inhumane and signifies that the Burmese government is not sincere about peace.”
This article was updated on 28 October 2013. An earlier version incorrectly stated that the clashes involved the KIO’s Brigade 4, rather than Brigade 3. We apologise for the error.