Kokang rebels in Myanmar, also known as Burma, attacked the residence of the regional administrator and the local army headquarters, killing at least one in the latest violence to hit the region near the border with China.
Rebel spokesman Tun Myat Lin told VOA Wednesday the attack on the home of Pae Shauk Chan was meant as a warning to the local government.
"They collaborated with the Myanmar army and forcibly call back refugees to Laukkai. So this attack is warning them not to do so," he said.
Earlier this week, the defense ministry said the situation in Laukkai town was becoming stable and hundreds of residents who fled fighting were returning to their homes.
The Myanmar Defense Service said Kokang rebels launched artillery attacks on the administrator's home and the army headquarters in Laukkai.
Pae Shauk Chan has been in charge of the Kokang area since 2009, when the Myanmar military deposed Peng Jiasheng, who recently launched an armed bid to regain control of the area, which is under a three-month period of martial law.
Fighting has left at least 130 people dead in the region and has forced tens of thousands to flee across the border into China.
In a statement expressing concern for the overall situation in Myanmar, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the conflict in Kokang is cause for alarm. He called for accountability for any violations that may have been perpetrated by the military or non-State armed groups.
The United States has said it is deeply concerned by the fighting and has called on all sides to exercise restraint and return to a dialogue.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.