Fresh Clashes Break Out Between Burma Army and MNDAA

By Kyaw Kha 17 February 2017

RANGOON — Renewed clashes have erupted between the Burma Army and the Kokang rebels of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in Kon Kyan and Maw Htike in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone.

A brigade commander of the MNDAA told The Irrawaddy on the condition of anonymity that it had been almost one month since government troops had last launched attacks on MNDAA’s Brigade No. 211, based in Kon Kyan.

“Clashes are fierce. The Tatmadaw has been using air strikes, artillery fire and so on. Clashes were quite serious both yesterday and today,” he said.

Information about casualties and injuries from the two sides, as well as involving civilians, are still unknown, he said. “It is very likely that clashes may continue.”

When asked by The Irrawaddy about the clashes, director Maj-Gen Aung Ye Win of the Directorate of Public Relations and Psychological Warfare under Ministry of Defense said: “For the time being, we have no plan to release news. But we will if necessary.”

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), which is allied with the MNDAA in the four-member ethnic coalition known as the Northern Alliance, has urged the government to find the solution through peaceful negotiations.

“If Burma’s government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi can not stop Burma Army’s ongoing offensives, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s words of peace will just be lip service. It won’t succeed,” Col Tar Bone Kyaw, TNLA spokesperson, told The Irrawaddy.

He said that there have been ongoing clashes between TNLA mobile troops and government soldiers in Nam Phat Kha in Kutkai Township.

MNDAA has not signed signing Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), but it has said that it would like to attend the 21st Century Panglong peace conference.

In 2009, the Burma Army attacked the MNDAA in Laukkai in connection with drug and weapon production, and took control of the Kokang area. In Feb.

2015, MNDAA troops attacked Burma military outposts in an attempt to retake the Kokang Self-Administered Zone. The clashes went on for around four months and there were heavy casualties.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko