Myanmar truce in doubt as fresh clashes erupt in north

Myanmar truce in doubt as fresh clashes erupt in north

HomeAsia-PacificMore Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:32PM

Fresh clashes have broken out between Myanmar’s army and rebels in the northern state of Shan, with the resurgence of the conflict overshadowing efforts to ink a countrywide ceasefire deal.

According to a Tuesday report by the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, hundreds of rebels on Monday launched assaults on military positions in the Kokang area of Shan state, a predominantly ethnic Chinese northern border area.

The new wave of clashes in the area come as conflict between the military and armed ethnic minority groups rages in other parts of Shan as well as the northern state of Kachin, casting doubts on government efforts to establish a nationwide ceasefire.

“While the state is making all-out efforts for reaching a nation-wide ceasefire, the renegade groups of Kokang have ambushed the troops of the Tatmadaw (army),” said the English-language paper, adding that ongoing violence has stoked “worries” among local people that there would be “recurring fighting” in the region.

Despite Naypyidaw’s efforts to bring peace to the war-torn border areas, tensions are still running high in the country.

Myanmar had hoped to sign the long-delayed agreement on Thursday when the country celebrates its annual Union Day.

“We will not be able to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord because there are some negotiation points still left to discuss,” said Hla Maung Shwe, a negotiator with the Myanmar Peace Center.

Myanmar’s government, which replaced junta rule in 2011, has vowed to end the civil wars, which have been flaring on and off since independence, as a key part of its reforms.

Kachin State has been grappling with internal conflicts since 2011, leaving hundreds dead and driving almost 100,000 civilians from their homes.

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