The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on Wednesday released a statement claiming it was waging a “limited war” alongside allies the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in response to Burmese army offensives in ethnic areas across the country.
The group’s peace negotiator Nashan San Awng told DVB that the Burmese military must reduce its policy of military aggression in ethnic areas in order to defuse the situation.
“A limited war is a war limited in time or location, but basically it is not an all-out war,” he explained. “The Burmese government has been launching military offensives across Kachin State for more than three months now, and I think the situation can only simmer down if the military reduces its aggression.”
Combined forces of the KIA, TNLA and MNDAA on 20 November launched synchronised attacks on government military and police outposts in northern Shan state’s Muse district. The government said at least 10 people–including soldiers, police and civilians–lost their lives, and more than 30 were injured in the clashes.
In the light of the conflict, the local government administrator in Muse pleaded with local residents not to flee their homes. District administrator Kyaw Kyaw Tun said false news had spread about clashes in an attempt to scare residents into fleeing the town and leaving their homes and shops unguarded.
“We are warning the residents not to buy into these rumours – the government has in place measures to provide full security to all the town’s residents,” he said, adding that military and police personnel have been assigned to security detail in Muse.
The Burmese army also denied responsibility for artillery shells that landed on Chinese soil after an exchange of hostilities around Muse. It insisted the shelling was carried out by the KIA and MNDAA with the intention of disrupting relations between Burma and China, and affecting stability at the border.
On 20 November, 13 artillery shells fired inside Burma landed across the border in the Chinese towns of Wending and Manghai, leaving one Chinese civilian injured.
Meanwhile, according to today’s report in Burmese military mouthpiece Myawady News, two civilians were killed and another injured by artillery shells launched on Wednesday by the combined forces of KIA, TNLA and MNDAA.
The report said the rebels were encamped in the village of Hona to the southwest of Namhkam, and at around 3pm on 23 November launched artillery strikes on Kaung Kup village. Two local residents, a man named Pye Hike Phim and his son Lao Saw, were caught in a blast and died instantly, while another was left injured, it said.
In a separate news report, the Myawady noted that some 70 TNLA and KIA rebels had that same day set up a roadblock between the villages of Maw Kaung and Ta Laung, where they beat up and terrorised motorists, prompting nearby Burmese government forces to move in and force the rebels into a retreat.
The Burmese military also accused the TNLA of bombing a Bailey bridge across the Monesein Creek about five miles to the north of Namtu.
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