Kolkata: Rebels of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) hit and set ablaze seven tanker trucks in northern Shan state with artillery to cut down aviation fuel supplies for Myanmars military junta.
The trucks were attacked on the Union Highway and Kutkai-Hseni road, transporting fuel from China through Muse.
The fuel is used by Burmese Air Force to bomb and strafe rebel targets or for helicopter gunship raids on them.
KIA information officer Colonel Naw Bu told IANS five tanker trucks were hit on the Union Highway, two in separate attacks on the Kutkai-Hseni road on Monday and Tuesday.
“People told us that the fuel is not for public use but for the military aviation, so we opened fire,” said Col. Naw Bu.
There was no fighting with the military in northern Shan State, apart from these artillery attacks, he said.
Myanmar’s military used jet fighters to retake control of the strategic hilltop Alaw Bum base on the Chinese border in Kachin State’s Momauk Township, which was seized by the KIA in late March.
The outpost allows the KIA to control the road between Kachin State’s capital, Myitkyina, and Bhamo, also in Kachin State. The KIA has also attacked the Myitkyina airbase and Bhamo Airport with artillery, reportedly forcing Myanmar’s air force to fly from Shan State’s Lashio, Mandalay and Meiktila in Mandalay Region to attack Momauk.
The KIA had good reason to believe the tanker trucks were providing jet fuel to bomb Momauk, Col. Naw Bu said.
“They attacked with two jet fighters yesterday in Momauk,” he said.
The military regime has not commented on the attacks. The fate of the tanker drivers was not yet known.
The National Energy Puma Aviation Services Co Ltd, a joint venture between Singapore-based Puma Energy Co and the government-owned Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise, is Myanmar’s major supplier of aviation fuel.
However, Puma Energy suspended imports following the military coup in February, disrupting supplies.
The regime has since reportedly been importing Chinese aviation fuel.
The KIA was negotiating a ceasefire agreement with Myanmar’s military before the February 1 coup but clashes broke out on March 11 after the security forces shot dead peaceful anti-regime protesters in Myitkyina.
The KIA has launched attacks on military and police outposts in Kachin State.
They are also training and arming Burmese youths who seek to raise urban insurgent formations to hit the junta and business interests of their Chinese patrons.