Thousands flee to China after MNDAA attack on army

Another estimated 20,000 people remain internally displaced in Rakhine state in the west because of inter-communal and military conflicts with Rohingya Muslims that the United Nations has said constitutes the "likely commission of crimes against humanity".

On Monday, at least 30 people were killed in an attack by ethnic Chinese fighters in Laukkai, the capital of Myanmar's region of Kokang, about 800km northeast of the commercial hub Yangon.

Spokesman Geng Shuang made the comments at a regular press briefing in Beijing that people fleeing Myanmar are seeking temporary shelter in China.

"I want to urge everyone to abandon the armed attacks that cause death and destruction for local ethnic groups and return to the peace table and join the peace journey that all ethnic citizens have been longing for", the statement said.

The Laukkai attack came days after representatives from the government and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) - an umbrella association of seven rebel groups that did not sign a 2015 ceasefire deal - reached an agreement in principle over nine points after a series of meetings last week.

Any exodus into China, which called on Tuesday for a ceasefire, could again raise tensions after a similar flare-up of violence in 2015. China urged both the parties to resolve their disputes through dialogue and consultations.

On Tuesday, six people inside casinos in Laukkai died in the fighting, and government soldiers apprehended about 80 casino workers, locals said.




But fighting has surged since a year ago as the army clashes with several different ethnic armed groups, undermining a government bid to forge peace.

The owner of another hotel, calling himself by his surname Yang, said: "All we can do is to help them and give them food".

"Residents in town are fleeing", an army officer told AFP.

It is thought to be following intense clashes between government forces and ethnic Chinese rebels in Kokang region in Myanmar's northeastern Shan state, which borders with China.

The clashes are some of the worst to break out in the Chinese-speaking Kokang region since fighting in 2015 left scores dead and forced tens of thousands to flee across the border into China.

"Since the outbreak of the conflict, some Myanmar residents living in the border areas have crossed over to the Chinese side for safety reasons".

The MNDAA and government troops engaged in three separate clashes this morning, he said, adding that at about 2 a.m., the [Myanmar] military used heavy weapons and dropped bombs that exploded in China's territory.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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