Burma’s state media on Monday said normalcy is slowly returning to the northern Shan State border area around Muse where government forces and ethnic armed groups have been engaged in heavy clashes in recent weeks.
Fighting between the Burmese army and the so-called Northern Alliance –namely, the Kachin Independence Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Arakan Army – broke out in Muse along the Burma-China border on 20 November, compelling thousands of local residents to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. Many crossed the border into China, where authorities have arranged makeshift accommodations for them.
State media said government schools and banks in Muse reopened on Monday as fighting simmered down in the area. Some refuge-seekers have returned to their homes and villages this week, with only 400 persons still camped in temporary relief shelters in the town. Muse’s 105-Mile Trade Zone is set to resume operations on Tuesday.
105-Mile Trade Zone is a major border trade checkpoint between Burma and China and a primary target when the rebel forces of the Northern Alliance launched coordinated attacks on 20 November. According to data from by the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the trade flow at the checkpoint amounted up to US$10 million per day, though commerce has been reduced slightly this year due to the conflict.
Meanwhile, clashes continue between government forces and the Northern Alliance in Pang Hseng and Mongko, both towns in Muse district. The rebel armies have vowed to continue guerrilla warfare unless the Burmese military ceases offensives. They have also urged Beijing to mediate an end to hostilities.