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Myanmar Clashes Continue Despite Peace Talks


FILE - Kachin rebels are seen manning their positions at near Mai Ja Yang, Kachin state.

FILE - Kachin rebels are seen manning their positions at near Mai Ja Yang, Kachin state.

Fighting between the Myanmar army and Kachin rebels broke out Saturday and continued until Monday, according to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). KIO liaison officer, Colonel Zaw Taung, told VOA Burmese government troops attacked a rebel outpost Monday in Hukawng valley.

He added the attack occurred despite the fact his group has been in touch with Myanmar military and government officials, following clashes in the jade mining area of Phakant.

“We are trying to control the situation by communicating and talking with PCG [Peace Creation Group], Conflict Resolution team as well as officials from the [government’s] Northern Command. But it is not very likely to stop the clash, as some of their ground troops continue advancing,” said Zaw Taung.

The KIO blames the government for the fighting. The government has refused VOA's requests for comment about this story.

No casualties have been reported by either side.

Kachin peace broker Seng Aung told VOA Burmese that both sides should maintain an agreement reached earlier this month, which requires informing each other of their military activities.

“Such incidents can be avoided as long as both sides maintain the mutual agreement that they reached earlier this month to resolve possible conflict by informing one another on all military activities. Otherwise, things will get worse,” said Seng Aung.

Another government offensive in northeastern Myanmar also continued Monday, according to a spokesman for Kokang rebel group, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

Rebel spokesman Tun Myat Lin said government troops used artillery in an assault against Kokang targets Monday, but no other details were immediately available. He added the rebels killed 21 government soldiers and wounded dozens more, while two members of the Kokang group were killed during fighting on Sunday.

“I was informed that our troops were attacked by artillery this morning. Fierce clashes occurred yesterday as well and we saw new types of artillery were used [by the Myanmar military],” said Tun Myat Lin.

Myanmar officials had not commented on the rebel claim as of late Monday. But last week, the government reported its troops have occupied more than 20 strategic positions held by ethnic Kokang rebels in two months of fierce fighting near the border with China. The government announced its troops, using artillery and tanks, had taken the positions since February 9, when fighting broke out.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Burmese Service.

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