Fighting resumed between Kokang insurgents and government troops in northern Shan state after the group had declared a unilateral cease-fire last week in an attempt to end four months of hostilities along the Chinese border RFA reported on 16 June.
Although the Kokang hoped the cease-fire would foster stability in the region and prevent disruptions to general elections scheduled for later this year, clashes began again when government troops continued their attack, said Tun Myat Linn, spokesman for the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Kokang army.
“Big fighting with heavy weapons began on June 12 and 13,” he told RFA. “One soldier from the MNDAA was killed, and 10 from government army were killed.”
Although the Kokang army vowed not to launch offenses against the army after it declared the cease-fire, it would, however, fight back to protect itself if attacked, he added.
TunMyat Linn estimated that a total of about 70 Kokang soldiers and more than 1,000 government troops had been killed in the conflict so far. Myanmar has not released recent casualty figures.
He also said the MNDAA, an ethnic Chinese army, had no contact with Chinese officials in making the decision to declare the cease-fire, but ordered its troops not to cross the border into China, because Beijing said it would not accept any organization that created instability in its territory.
Speculation arose in Myanmar last week that the subsequent cease-fire was in part motivated by the Chinese government which was hosting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on a visit.
But Ye Htut, the president’s spokesman, said China invited Aung San Suu Kyi because relations between the two countries were improving, not because the Chinese wanted to talk to her about the conflict between the Kokang and Myanmar government.