19 killed in ethnic rebel attack in eastern Myanmar, government says

  • 19 killed in ethnic rebel attack in eastern Myanmar, government says

19 killed in ethnic rebel attack in eastern Myanmar, government says

China has called for immediate ceasefire between Myanmar forces and ethnic rebels near its border in Shan state.

Rights defenders say clashes in the north have ramped up since January as the worldwide community focuses on the Rohingya crisis in the west of the country.

Ethnic insurgents in Myanmar killed 19 people, including four members of the security forces, in an attack on security posts and a casino near the border with China, a Myanmar government spokesman said on Saturday.

Nan Mwe Phown, a Red Cross member who was at a hospital in Muse, said the dead included 13 male civilians and two female civilians, including a pregnant woman, as well as several police officers.

The UN and human rights groups say the volatile situation in Myanmar is putting people's lives at risk.

Saturday's violence was between the military and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, or TNLA, one of several insurgent groups fighting for more autonomy in the north.

Saturday's attacks were blamed on the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), which claimed responsibility for operation and apologised for the civilian deaths. "It is just a destructive terrorist attack". "Many civilians they go to the casinos and it causes many social problems, so we launched a major assault", Tar Aik Kyaw said.

The TNLA spokesman said he believed some residents had fled over the border.

The United Nations estimates more than 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since fighting in the western state of Rakhine broke out last August.

Reverend Hkalam Samsun, chairman of the Kachin Baptist Convention, said the Kachin people were "disappointed" with Suu Kyi. In the past few months, clashes between ethnic groups and the military in Burma's northeastern region have intensified, resulting in thousands of people being displaced in neighboring Kachin state.

Suu Kyi placed the peace bid - an effort to extinguish around two dozen complicated and long-running ethnic conflicts across the country - at the top of her agenda after she was elected to office in landmark 2015 elections.