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Myanmar military tightens security in Kokang capital


A junction in Myanmar-China border town Laukkai, Myanmar. Photo: EPA

Myanmar’s military has tightened security measures in Laukkai, capital of Kokang region in northern Shan state, following an explosion in a house in the town, official media reported Sunday. 

The house belongs to the former leader of the Kokang self-administered zone. 

A search of the damaged house in Thursday’s blast led to the discovery of five pieces of a propelled explosive (RPG) round, the report said. 

Further investigation revealed that the projectile had been launched from a hill, 1.6 kilometers northwest of Laukkai and the pieces belonged to a 107mm rocket launcher. 

Security forces also found a suspicious package comprising night-vision binoculars, 107mm rocket launchers and grenades around a hill, 3.2 kilometres northwest of Laukkai, the report added. 

On Nov. 18, 2015, the Myanmar government announced the lifting of a military administration order imposed in the Kokang self-administered zone, once torn by armed clashes between government forces and Kokang's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in February that year. 

The government claimed that it had brought the Kokang region under its control following the heavy clashes. 

MNDAA unilaterally declared a ceasefire in June of that year for the sake of stability and peace along the border and in view of the fact that the country's 2015 November general election was then approaching. 

MNDAA was not invited by the government in a peace deal although the government had initially signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) with eight armed groups on Oct. 15, 2015. 

The ethnic side proposed the MNDAA for inclusion in the signing process but the government suggested having separate talks with the group before it was done.

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