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The Burmese armed forces have deployed airstrikes against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in efforts to quell illegal logging in the northern region, according to military-owned Myawaddy TV.
The report on Saturday claimed that government troops had clashed on 5 and 7 May with KIA units who were protecting logging activities in Manwane, Sadone, Kandawyan and Sikhamgyi in the Mansi region of Kachin State.
Two Chinese and five Burmese loggers were reportedly arrested during ground operations.
KIA spokesperson La Nan rejected the army news broadcast and asked why it was that the Burmese army had arrested the loggers before reaching KIA-controlled territory.
“Our soldiers were based in camp,” he told DVB. “How is it that the government troops arrested those loggers before they reached our positions? This report is simply an attempt to defame us.”
Myawaddy reported that the government forces had located the logging areas through air surveillance and that it had deployed airstrikes in fighting with the KIA.