Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Battle of Mone-Koe (Mong-Ko) on Burma-China Border

(Articles direct from The IRRAWADDY & YE MOE FACEBOOK on 29 November 2016.)

Since 20th November surprise attacks on the Muse Trading Post on Burma-China border by KIA-led Northern Alliance insurgents the nearby town Mone-Koe has been the scene of devastating battle and skirmishes between the defending Burmese army and the attacking ethnic insurgents.

Geographically the Mone-koe town is located right on the border line and surrounded by many hills of great heights ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 ft.  and the small town is down below in the valley. Since the beginning of hostilities on 20th November the attacking Northern Alliance insurgents have held positions on six or seven hilltops overlooking the town and Burmese army defenders are holding their fortified positions on two low hills – Tactical Hill and Guard Hill - just outside the town.

Most of the town folks, the Chinese, have abandoned their homes and taken refuge in neighboring China while the rest, presumably Burmese and Shans, are now taking refuge in the army compound. Insurgents mainly in the town are relentlessly attacking the army while many insurgents on surrounding are blocking and thus preventing the army reinforcement from reaching the Burmese army units being trapped inside the town.

A-9 Fighter Jets and Mi-35 attack helicopters from Burmese Air Force are bombarding insurgent positions every day but because of town straddling on the China borderline prohibited Burmese Air Force from all-out devastating bombing against the Northern Alliance insurgents.

Army estimates put the number of attacking insurgents at nearly 4,000 against just a rifle battalion strength defenders (300 maximum). But, as rapid reinforcement approaching from West and South of the town, two battle-hardened Light Infantry Divisions of Burmese Army, LID-99 and LID-33, each nearly 4,000 strong are already in the vicinity of the town under siege.

While the battle has been raging for more than a week followings are the two completely opposite versions of battle being waged at Moe-Koe from Thailand-based pro-insurgent Irrawaddy Journal and the Rangoon-based pro-army Myanmar Daily News.

Ethnic Armed Groups Claim Control of Border Town

MUSE, Shan State — Ethnic armed group soldiers say they have seized most of Mong Ko, a border town in northern Shan State, but the Burma Army retained control of a nearby hilltop base as fighting continued on Monday, according to local sources.

The ethnic armed groups took control of the Mong Ko border gate, the immigration zone, and most areas of the town. Then they launched an offensive against Burma Army troops in the area, according to the joint ethnic armed groups’ spokesperson, Tar Aike Kyaw. As of Monday morning, they had captured several Burma Army positions in the town. “Already, the town of Mong Ko has fallen into the hands of the joint ethnic armed groups,” Tar Aike Kyaw told the Irrawaddy.

The Burma Army has suffered a high number of casualties, and the ethnic armed groups were able to seize many weapons, according to a video posted on Facebook by Northern Alliance-Burma.

On Saturday, the President’s Office told the Democratic Voice of Burma that the Burma Army still maintains control of Mong Ko, despite contrary statements from the ethnic armed groups.

Since Nov. 20, a coalition of four ethnic armed groups—dubbed the Northern Alliance—has carried out a military offensive against the Burma Army in northern Shan State. The ethnic armed groups include the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). It is unclear how long the offensive will continue.

Chinese border guards.
“The ethnic armed groups fought again yesterday. Fighting broke out near the positions of Arakan Army soldiers,” said Tar Aike Kyaw.

In Mong Ko, soldiers from the MNDAA, AA, KIA, and TNLA approached the town from different sides before they attacked. On Monday, the ethnic armed groups appeared to control most of the town, but the Burma Army still defended a hilltop position nearby, according to Tar Aike Kyaw.

Units of the Burma Air Force have also taken part, attacking Mong Ko in an effort to assist Burma Army soldiers on the ground. More Burma Army troops were also present in other villages to the east of Mong Ko. “We seized the town already, but we could not yet get to their hill post,” said Tar Aike Kyaw.

He said that some civilians who were trapped by the fighting have taken shelter on the hill post, and the Burma Army was allowing them to stay. “It is hard for us to attack the Burma Army post because there are civilians present there,” he said.

In recent days, ethnic armed group soldiers have attacked several Burma Army positions in northern Shan State. The ethnic armed groups often employ guerilla tactics, attacking briefly and then disappearing, said Tar Aike Kyaw.

He added that on Sunday, the ethnic armed groups attacked for 30 minutes at a Burma Army position in the Muse 105th mile trade zone. The security situation on the Lashio-Muse roadway remained unstable. Some vehicles have been able to travel the road, but in other cases trucks were blocked from traveling.

In Muse town itself, shops and restaurants have reopened, and security appeared improved over last week, The Irrawaddy’s reporter noted on the ground. Many people were walking the streets of Muse on Monday.

Last Friday, officials from Burma and China’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense held a meeting to discuss security and development along the border. A joint statement from the meeting said, “The Chinese side expressed its hope for a speedy solution to the current tension in the northern part of Myanmar and to restore normalcy in the border area as soon as possible.”

A Northern Alliance insurgent inside the Mone-koe Town.
Burmese  LID-99 Broke Through KIA Cordon Of Mone-koe

Despite all the rumours of being fallen completely into insurgent hands Mone-koe situations is almost back to normal as Burmese army reinforcements has broke through the insurgents and linked up with army units doggedly defending the Mone-koe town for more than a week now. But the insurgents are still in the deserted town while Army, police, and People Militia are holding all strategic positions such as the Army-Hills and Police Station.

Battles are still going on in Man-hane-gyi and Kyukoke-Pangsaing areas. But army is in the control of situation as massive reinforcement from LID-33, LID-99, and Eastern Command are pouring into the small area on the China border despite insurgents’ many attempts to ambush the incoming army reinforcement on the Lashio-Muse Federal Highway.

Burma Air Force also has ruthlessly rocketing and bombarding enemy positions all over Mone-koe area. Especially the ugly dragonfly-like Russian-made Mi-35 attack choppers. These Mi-35s are really ugly as the double cabins at the front make them look like a dragonfly with a hunchback.

Only problem for the enemy facing them are the heavy weaponry they carried and used to blow up enemy out of this earth. Two 30-mm automatic cannons and 57-mm & 80-mm rockets. And its underbelly, and 70% of its body, are reinforced armoured steel plates. Mi-35 has a crew of two officers – one pilot and one weapon officer.

They normally fly assault missions in the formation of two and Burmese army soldiers under a siege conditions are always happy to see them flying over their position as once attacking enemy saw them or even heard them they fled with tails between their legs. Burmese soldiers called the Mi-35s “Lovely Comrades” and comrade MI-35 reliable blow the overwhelming enemy off their strongholds.

Unless Chinese PLA started equipping KIA with free Stinger-like Surface-to-Air missiles our Comrades Mi-35 will rule the sky in Burma. Nowadays most Burmese are asking themselves how come Chinese-equipped and funded KIA and so-called Northern Alliance insurgents are severely disrupting multi-billion dollar cross-border trade between China and Burma.

For everyone in Burma knows that without China’s support all those insurgent armies fighting a proxy war for China will collapse as every war is too damn expensive to go on for too long like the more than 60-yrs long civil war in our Burma.

Anyway for right now crack troops from battle-hardened LID-99 are clearing the insurgent-held hills around Mone-koe one by one and we believe China will eventually evacuate their slave insurgents back into China for well-earned R&R and some nice hospital stays for thousands of wounded insurgents in Chinese military hospitals.

Related posts at following links:
Baptist KIA Fighting A Proxy War For Communist China
Burma's Nasty Little War On China Border