RANGOON — The Burmese government announced a state of emergency and martial law in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone on Tuesday evening after a series of clashes between the Burma Army and armed Kokang rebels in the regional capital Laukkai.
A statement signed by Burma’s President Thein Sein said that despite a curfew imposed in the area since Feb. 12, a barrage of attacks by Kokang rebels had forced the government to announce a state of emergency in the region.
In a separate announcement on the same day, the president announced martial law in the Kokang zone, granting administrative and judicial power to Burma Army commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing “for the speedy restoration of law and order in the region.”
“The military commander in chief shall practice those powers either by himself or allow another suitable military official instead,” the statement said.
Fighting in northeast Burma began on Feb. 9, and has killed at least 47 members of the Burma Army and 18 rebel troops. Thousands of refugees have fled across the border into China as a result of the hostilities.