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A BOMB EXPLODED AT A CAFE IN BENGALURU INJURING 9 PEOPLE | THE KACHIN INDEPENDENCE ARMY AND KACHIN PEOPLE'S DEFENSE FORCE SEIZED THREE JUNTA OUTPOSTS ON MAJI GUNG HILL

February 29 - March 6, 2024 | Issue 9 - PACOM

Chloe Woodbine, Samuel Pearson, Mrinmoy Routh, Magdalena Breyer, Siddhesh Shimpukade, Geo Arshali, PACOM and Extremism Teams

Christina Valdez, Editor; Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor.


India[1]


Date: March 1, 2024

Location: Whitefield, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Parties involved: India; Karnataka state government; National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials; Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah; Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar; Central Crime Branch (CCB) of Bengaluru Police; Bengaluru Police Department; emergency response teams; law enforcement; Rameshwarama Cafe; Rameshwarama Cafe employees; Rameshwarama Cafe customers; Bengaluru citizens

The event: A bomb exploded at the Rameshwaram Cafe, injuring at least 9 people around 1300 local time.[2] Emergency response teams have responded to the blast, transporting injured individuals to nearby hospitals for immediate medical attention. The Chief Minister confirmed that a low-intensity improvised explosive device (IED) was the cause of the explosion after investigations ruled out a gas explosion. Reports indicate the suspect is 28 to 30 years old, with investigations ongoing.[3] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • Law enforcement will very likely continue to monitor the threat landscape, identify potential suspects, and evaluate the broader implications of the explosion. Increased security measures including enhanced police presence and surveillance, are likely in the affected and surrounding areas to address immediate concerns for public safety. Increased security measures will likely support ongoing investigations, allowing enhanced surveillance, stricter access controls, and increased intelligence gathering.

  • The use of a low-intensity IED likely indicates that the bomber lacked bomb-making materials. The attacker is likely poorly resourced as the small number of casualties is likely due to the small explosive charge used, and the size of the charge is very likely determined by the material availability. Future attackers will likely construct their IEDs using minimal resources, likely due to restraints of acquiring materials for large makeshift explosives.

  • Political pressure is likely to manifest as an external influence on the investigation, impacting the autonomy and objectivity of the police inquiry as state government leaders are likely trying to shape public perception. The police department will very likely face political pressure over perceived failures to prevent the incident and its potential negative impact on the Karnataka state government's reputation. The Karnataka state government will likely seek to protect its reputation by producing a politically acceptable outcome.


Date: March 3, 2024

Location: Maji Gung Hill, Mansi Township, Kachin State, Myanmar

Parties involved: Myanmar; Shan State; Kachin State; Myanmar junta; junta Light Infantry Battalion 427; junta Infantry Battalion 102; junta Infantry Battalion 250; Kachin Independence Army (KIA); resistance force in Kachin State; Kachin People’s Defense Force (KPDF); civilian populations in Kachin; China; Myanmar

The event: The KIA and the KPDF seized three junta-controlled outposts on Maji Gung Hill after three days of fighting. The resistance forces apprehended arms and weaponry from the Light Infantry Battalion 427 and Infantry Battalions 102 and 250 stationed at the outposts, including ammunition and howitzers. The junta allegedly suffered many casualties in the fighting, killing one KIA officer and injuring 5 KDPF members.[4] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • The junta will likely launch strategic operations to recapture lost outposts in Mansi and neighboring townships and to prevent further territorial losses, likely prioritizing bolstering its defensive positions and counterinsurgency tactics given their struggle to overcome resistance forces through direct combat. They will likely conduct airstrikes on resistance strongholds to gain time to reinforce defenses, likely by increasing surveillance, fortifying positions, and deploying troops to vulnerable positions. The junta will likely attempt to undermine the KIA and KPDF’s influence among civilian populations by extending the internet shutdown indefinitely and employing propaganda and disinformation to control local narratives.

  • The KIA and KPDF will likely intensify their efforts to assert complete control over Mansi township, likely increasing the frequency of their operations to expand their control over strategic locations following their recent successes. The alliance will likely attack junta infrastructure in Mansi to gain more proximity to Shan state, likely targeting military outposts, communication lines, and infrastructure critical to the junta’s operations. There is a roughly even chance that the KIA and KPDF will try to control land near China-Myanmar trade routes to disrupt the junta’s supply lines and gain the economic benefits of controlling valuable natural resources and leveraging their position to negotiate trade or aid agreements.

 

[1] Whitefield by Google Maps

[2] Karnataka blast: Big explosion at Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram cafe, several injured, Times of India, March, 2024, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/big-explosion-in-bengalurus-rameshwaram-cafe-several-feared-injured/articleshow/108134012.cms

[3] Blast in Bengaluru cafe, man who planted IED bomb identified on CCTV, India Today, March 2024, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bengaluru-cafe-blast-popular-rameshwaram-cafe-injured-2509088-2024-03-01 

[4] KIA Seizes Three Hilltop Bases From Myanmar Junta in Kachin State, The Irrawaddy, March 2024, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/kia-seizes-three-hilltop-bases-from-myanmar-junta-in-kachin-state.html 

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