19 killed in army-rebel clashes in Myanmar

Erika Holt
May 13, 2018

The Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), made up of fighters from the Ta'ang or Palaung ethnic group, said the group had attacked a casino run by militiamen and a Myanmar army post on the outskirts of border town Muse, a few hundred meters from a river that separates Myanmar's northern Shan state and China's Yunnan province.

Ethnic insurgents in Myanmar killed 19 people, including four members of the security forces, in an attack on security posts and a casino near the border with China, a Myanmar government spokesman said on Saturday.

Rights defenders say clashes in northern Myanmar near the China border have ramped up in recent months as the global community focuses on the Rohingya crisis in the west of the country.

The violence was between the military and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, or TNLA, one of several insurgent groups fighting for more autonomy in the north. "We do not know what was going on and who was fighting", said Muse resident Aye Aye. "This is not an ethnic rights movement, this is a terrorist attack".

An injured man sits inside a vehicle in Muse, northern Shan state, Myanmar.

It is unclear if members of the powerful Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, took part in the attacks on Saturday though the commander-in-chief's post said they did.

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Human rights groups on Saturday urged Myanmar to drop charges against activists protesting military offensives in Kachin State, which borders Shan State.

The United Nations estimates more than 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since fighting in the western state of Rakhine broke out last August.

China on Sunday condemned fighting in Myanmar between Myanmar government troops and ethnic militants near the Chinese border, which had caused people to flee into Chinese territory.

Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi said ending Myanmar's long-running conflicts was her main priority after she took power in 2016, but she shares power with the military that fought the insurgencies for decades.

Internally displaced people set up a campfire for warmth outside a temporary shelter in Danai, Kachin state, on May 12, 2018.

"She should stand firm with the people but she compromised with the military", he said.

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