Clashes were reported between combined forces of three armed groups and the Burmese military in northern Shan State’s Muse district on 10 December.
Small-arms gunfire and artillery fire were exchanged sporadically throughout the day between Burmese government forces and an alliance involving the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).
The TNLA’s spokesperson Mong Aik Kyaw said the three armed groups clashed with units of the Burmese army’s 11th, 77th and 88th Infantry Divisions after government reinforcements entered a territory held by the TNLA in Tamoenye.
“More than 500-strong Burmese government troops entered an area under our control triggering a head-on clash with our mobile units. It is hard to say which side opened fired first,” said Mong Aik Kyaw.
“The fight between Saihkong and Hopon villages went from around 5am until 3:30pm, with both sides exchanging intermittent small arms and artillery fire.”
Mong Aik Kyaw said the fighting may continue as troops from both sides remain at their positions on Thursday.
Clashes had already broken out between the Burmese government forces and the TNLA on 8 and 9 December, in Namhsan Township between Ongswan and Ongdat villages, and in Kyaukme Township between Lwesa and Nahlo villages, respectively.
The TNLA said there have been at least seven clashes with the Burmese army since the start of December 2014.
While a ceasefire between armed groups and the government was signed in 2012 during Burma’s democratic reforms, there have been multiple reports of skirmishes between the government forces and rebel factions in disputed regions of north Burma.