Myanmar’s army has continued its offensive against Kokang ethnic rebels to push them out of areas near the border with China.
The recent spate of fighting broke out in a remote region in the country’s northeastern state of Shan on February 9 when Myanmar’s military engaged in a series of clashes with rebels in Laukkai town.
The 11-day intense conflict in the Kokang region in the northern part of Shan state has killed dozens, with the army attacking the rebels with air strikes and ground forces.
Myanmar’s state media said on Friday that the offensive was going on against the rebels.
“Army columns were in hot pursuit of Kokang insurgents into retreat,” around Laukkai, state media the Global New Light of Myanmar reported Friday, adding that the bodies of two rebels were recovered by army soldiers after fighting Thursday to secure roads leading to the flashpoint town.
Meanwhile, rebels said that they also inflicted casualties on army during the fighting over the past few days.
Myanmar’s government has declared a state of emergency in the wake of brutal fighting between the army and ethnic rebels.
“A serious situation has developed that has put people’s lives at risk, so a state of emergency has been declared starting from today,” Myanmar’s Ministry of Information said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The Kokang region had been relatively calm since 2009, when Myanmar’s army launched an offensive against the regional rebels, forcing more than 30,000 people to flee over the border into China.
Tensions, however, have been on the rise between the ethnic militants and the government since an attack by the Myanmar’s army on a rebel training camp in the north of the country last November killed 23 cadets.
Nearly 2,000 people have also fled for central Myanmar, according to state media reports.