Burmese State Media: Dozens of Rebels Dead in Clashes in Kachin State

Posted May 4th, 2012 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese state media said Friday that heavy fighting in northern Kachin state has killed 29 ethnic rebels and two government troops during the past week.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar said the clashes began on April 27 when government troops responded to an attack on a military post by members of the Kachin Independence Army in a northern border town. It said one KIA member was captured alive and that the military is in “hot pursuit” of fleeing members of the group.

Lanan, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Organization, confirmed the fighting to VOA's Burmese service. While he did not give a casualty estimate, he said both sides had suffered losses in the fighting. He also said that government troops were moving closer to KIO headquarters near the Burma-China border.

At least 60,000 people have been displaced since June 2011, when fighting broke out between the army and Kachin rebels, ending a 17-year ceasefire.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to Burma's conflicts with ethnic rebel groups during his visit to the country earlier this week.

Rights groups say that, despite Burma's recent political reforms, there has been little progress in human rights abuses committed by the country's military.

Ethnic groups in the northern part of the country have long accused the government of repressing them, and have been fighting for greater autonomy in their traditional states.