June 29, 2017

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Tatmadaw continues operations after 48 clashes with MNDAA

This car was destroyed by fire in the 6 March attacks by the MNDAA in Laukkai. Photo: MNA

As government troops were conducting area clearance operations from 6 to 12 March, there were at least 48 armed clashes with the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) , resulting in the deaths of dozens of soldiers.
The MNDAA armed group has been fighting against the Tatmadaw troops nearby the border area with China at four locations, taking advantage of the terrain. Tatmadaw troops continue area clearance operations.
In the attack on a hotel in Laukkai in the pre-dawn hours of 6 March,  an MNDAA armed group of about 45 seized car keys hanging in the gate’s entry-post and stole 300 million Yuan, abducted 120 male and 150 female hotel staff members, with motor vehicles parked in front of the hotel, according to a statement from the Tatmataw.
One of the abductees who refused to follow them was shot dead. One of the female staff members was allegedly raped. The rest were taken away by car, according to the Tatmadaw statement.
While taking a brief stop, 50 women were chosen to be forced to serve in their group, apart from women from a neighbouring country. Out of the 120 abducted males, 10 from the neighbouring country were released. The remaining 110 males and 150 females were taken to Namsang in cars. According to sources, it was learnt that all the abductees who were taken away to Kone Gyan township via Namsang, which is the stronghold of the MNDAA, would be forced to undergo military training, according to the Tatmadaw.
As a result of the brutal armed attacks of the MNDAA in Laukkai, five locals and five traffic policemen were killed and four others abducted. Scores of citizens were injured, public buildings were destroyed.
The attacks of 6th March included an incident where about 300 MNDAA members disguised in police uniforms entered Yanlonekyine Police Station, Laukkai Township, at about 2 am. The insurgents opened fire, prompting officers of the Tatmadaw-Myanmar Police Joint Security Force to engage in a protracted gun battle. The Yanlonekyine Police Station is a usual rendezvous point for members of the Tatmadaw and Border Security.
A few hours later, about 50 MNDAA armed troops infiltrated the house of U Wai San, a member of the Kokang Self-Administered Zone Directorate, and retreated at about 5 am, according to official reports. The insurgents also attacked the Kyintin Hotel and badly damaged four vehicles. The MNDAA troops earlier raided the cash counter at the Fulilight Hotel around 2:30 am.
Following the attack, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as the chairperson of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre, strongly urged all the armed groups to abandon the armed attacks, saying that the violence would bring about nothing but sorrow and suffering for the innocent local tribes and races. She urged them to join the dialogue for national peace and march together with the people on the path of peace with unified strong spirit on the basis of equality.
ESCAPE TO CHINA
Within earshot of mortar fire echoing from Myanmar, a sprawling relief camp in south-western China is swelling steadily after the fighting.
In a recent Reuters visit to the rugged area in southwestern Yunnan province, aid workers and those displaced expressed fears of a more violent and protracted conflict than a previous flare-up in the Kokang region in early 2015.
“Every day, more people come,” said Li Yinzhong, an aid manager in the camp, gesturing at the mostly Han Chinese refugees from the Kokang region trudging through the reddish mud earth around rows of large blue huts where they sleep on nylon tarpaulin sheets.
“We will look after them until they decide they want to go back.”
Blue disaster relief tents provided by the Chinese also dotted the terraced sugar cane, maize and tea terraces flanking the mountainous winding road to Nansan. The town, close to the Kokang region of Shan State, is providing refuge for a stream of refugees that Chinese authorities estimate number more than 20,000.
Kokang has close ties to China. The vast majority are ethnic Chinese speaking a Chinese dialect and using the yuan as currency.”
Reuters contributed to this report.

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