At least 14 Myanmar police officers are dead and two are missing following a coordinated attack by ethnic armed groups on a police outpost in northern Shan State’s Lashio Township early Saturday morning.
At least five family members of police officers were wounded during the attack in Naung Mon Village, a witness told The Irrawaddy.
A local resident said the attack was jointly launched by the tripartite Brotherhood Alliance, which groups the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA); Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA); and Arakan Army (AA). The Irrawaddy has not been able to confirm the claim.
TNLA spokesperson Mai Aik Kyaw told The Irrawaddy he has not been able to communicate with troops on the ground in the area, and could not confirm whether the alliance launched the attack.
The strike comes one week after the Brotherhood Alliance warned the Myanmar military junta that it would join forces with all ethnic people to fight the regime if its brutal killing of anti-coup protesters across the country continued.
Following the attack, Myanmar military troops raided Naung Mon and nearby Naung Kwe Village, causing more than 300 residents of the two villages to flee, a local resident said.
“The [initial] attack began just before dawn. The police outpost also burned down during the attack,” a local resident said.
Security has been tightened in Lashio and the military has blocked traffic on some main roads near the police station in the city, a local resident said.
Prior to the coup, the members of the Brotherhood Alliance had been negotiating individual bilateral agreements with the military to cease fighting, and the group declared a unilateral ceasefire in support of the negotiations. After the military coup, they extended the truce until March 31.
The military has extended its own unilateral ceasefire until April 30. The Brotherhood Alliance has not responded to that announcement, however.
Prior to the attack on Saturday, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Karen National Union (KNU) launched a series of attacks on regime forces in Kachin and Shan states and Bago Region in response to the regime’s killing of civilians during its crackdowns on anti-coup protesters in the country.
Police have been involved in the regime’s lethal crackdowns on the protests since the military takeover on Feb. 1. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 618 civilians have been killed by police and soldiers during crackdowns on peaceful anti-regime protesters nationwide.
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