Updated: 04/20/2014 15:26 | By Agence France-Presse

Myanmar army says 22 dead in clashes with rebels

Fighting between the military and ethnic minority rebels in northern Myanmar has left at least 22 people dead this month, the army said Sunday, dimming hopes of a nationwide peace deal.


Myanmar army says 22 dead in clashes with rebels

Rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) 3rd Brigade soldiers secure an area on Hka Ya mountain in Kachin province, on January 20, 2013 - by -

Bloodshed in the state of Kachin, the scene of the last major active civil war in the former junta-ruled country, has uprooted tens of thousands of people and tempered optimism about sweeping political reforms.

Eight government soldiers, including one officer, have been killed in clashes this month, according to a military statement carried by the army-owned Myawaddy newspaper.

The military also retrieved the bodies of 14 Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters along with weapons, it added.

There was no immediate comment from the KIA, one of the country's largest rebel armies.

Kachin sources said thousands of villagers were taking refuge along the border with China.

According to the UN, about 100,000 people have been displaced in remote, resource-rich area since a 17-year ceasefire between the government and the rebels broke down in June 2011.

The total death toll from the conflict is unknown.

The military said fighting flared up earlier this month after one of its officers was killed in an ambush by the KIA, prompting it to deploy troops to clear areas along supply lines.

President Thein Sein's reformist government has struck a series of tentative peace deals with major rebel groups in the country, which has been wracked by civil conflict since independence from Britain in 1948.

After numerous rounds of talks, the government and Kachin rebels signed a seven-point plan in May 2013 aimed at ending hostilities.

At the time the agreement was hailed as a breakthrough by the government, which is now seeking to ink a nationwide ceasefire with a coalition of rebel groups to burnish its reform credentials as it woos foreign donors and investors.

Another round of peace talks is scheduled for early May although it could be delayed because of the fresh unrest, according to a person close to the talks who did not want to be named.

Since decades of outright military rule ended three years ago, former general Thein Sein has won international praise by freeing hundreds of political prisoners, easing censorship and letting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi enter parliament.

But optimism has been marred by the Kachin conflict, several outbreaks of deadly Buddhist-Muslim strife around the country and concerns about continued repressive laws.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。