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People's Daily Online

Military conflicts break out in northern Myanmar amid gov't peace efforts

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:12, November 21, 2016

YANGON, Nov. 21 -- Military conflicts broke out in the border area of northern Myanmar's Shan state early on Sunday morning with an alliance of three ethnic armed groups launching simultaneous and surprise attacks on government's military outposts and police stations in Muse and Kutkai townships as well as a border trade center there.

According to a release of the Information Committee of the State Counselor's Office late in the day, a total of eight people including one soldier, three policemen, one militia and three civilians have lost their lives.

In addition, A total of 29 people have been injured in the conflicts including nine policemen, two customs officers and 18 civilians.

The government forces are now in hot pursuit of the attackers who have retreated after the government troops returned fire.

The three armed groups, namely the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Kokang's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), are among the non-signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA).

The heavy clashes happened amid the government's peace process to bring the non-ceasefire signatories to join the signing and pave the way for a national-level political dialogue scheduled late this month.

The over 800-strong forces of the armed groups in alliance began the coordinated assault in divided forces on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. local time with small and heavy weapons which lasted for several hours.

Their attacks targeted government military outposts and police stations in areas of Muse, Kutkai, Monekoe, Kyukoke, Phangsai, Pangsang, Manken and Kyinsankyawk (Honang).

The Nangpau bridge and the 105th- Mile border trade zone, southeast of Muse, were also under attack.

Sumlon bridge on Lashio-Muse road and Nangpau bridge were blown up and three shops near Nangpau bridge were also burned down.

Namtu bridge was also damaged due to explosion.

As the military conflicts took place on China-Myanmar border area, the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar issued a statement Sunday night, expressing grave concern over the outbreaking of the military conflicts in northern Myanmar and urging all parties in the conflicts to exercise restraint by taking concrete and effective measures for an immediate ceasefire so as to resume peace in the China-Myanmar border area as soon as possible.

The embassy statement reminded the Chinese citizens in Myanmar to watch out for their own safety by avoiding going to those conflict areas.

To flee the military conflicts, some Myanmar inhabitants in the border area have fled to the Chinese territory and for humanitarian considerations, the local Chinese government has taken in those who have crossed the border and sent the injured ones to hospitals for medical treatment, according to the statement.

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