Myanmar junta troops flee to China after KIA attack

Published : 23 Jan 2024 08:55 PM

Myanmar junta troops near the Chinese border in Kachin State have fled into China after an attack by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), according to residents.

Light Infantry Battalion 424 troops at Man Wein Gyi village in Mansi Township retreated after Sunday’s attack by KIA Brigade 3 and Kachin People’s Defense Force.

A video on Facebook purportedly shows around 17 soldiers crossing the Shweli River into China, holding small arms.

The authorities in China reportedly handed the junta soldiers back to the regime at the Muse border in northern Shan State on Monday. The Irrawaddy could not independently verify the reports.

KIA spokesman Colonel Naw Bu told The Irrawaddy that around 30 soldiers from Battalion 424, including a deputy battalion commander, were captured at Man Wein Gyi and are still in custody.

Man Wein Gyi is strategically located on routes to Ruili in China and Namkham in Shan State, said Col Naw Bu.

The regime responded with air raids on Sunday, damaging three houses, said a resident, who added that villagers are returning to their homes.

“We have nowhere else to go. Schools and shops are closed. It is difficult to find food. Mobile internet is down and we use Chinese SIM cards,” the resident told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

Since last month around 700 junta soldiers have crossed the Indian border from Chin State amid attacks by the Arakan Army in Paletwa Township and by Chin resistance groups elsewhere, according to India’s armed forces.

Former captain Kaung Thu Win, who joined the civil disobedience movement after the 2021 coup, said the troops are being sent back to Myanmar’s regime.

India plans to erect a fence along its porous frontier with Myanmar and will scrap a free movement border zone agreement, the Indian media reported on Sunday.