The head of Kokang rebel forces in Myanmar has implicated a neighboring armed ethnic group as helping in its struggle against the army.
In an exclusive interview with VOA's Mandarin service, Peng Daren, the commander of Kokang rebels, said the Kachin are among the groups helping his cause.
"We ourselves have more than 3,000 soldiers. If, counting four other ethnic groups including Kachin Independence Organization, who are helping us, we have four- to five-thousand soldiers in total."
Last month, the Kachin, who are also battling the government in their region, denied allegations that they were providing military assistance to the rebels in Kokang.
Peng also called on China to help restore peace. However, he denied any foreign involvement in the conflict.
"I just want to say that I love peace. Of course we hope the world could help us, but I don’t think it will happen," he said. "Up to now, we have never received any help from any country."
Peng is the eldest son of longtime Kokang leader Peng Jiasheng, who was deposed by the army in 2009.
Meanwhile, UNICEF and the World Health Organization have called for a resumption of immunization activities in the Kokang area.
Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF representative to Myanmar, said they are calling on all parties involved to create conditions needed to immunize the remaining children in the area.
Fighting has left at least 130 people dead in the region and has forced tens of thousands to flee across the border into China.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin and Burmese services.