Ethnic armed forces and the Burma Army fought three battles in northern Burma in one day, 24 February.
Government forces who were searching for ethnic armed groups were ambushed in Kutkai, Lauk Kai and Kongyan townships.
U Mala from Kutkai Township, said: “There was a one and a half hour battle between the Tamonye and Mongsi areas [just] after 1pm yesterday [24 February]. Around 3pm there was also a one-hour battle near the Knog Sar and Nam-One areas. Now groups of Burmese forces are arriving one after the other. [Fighting] also takes place in jungle areas so people dare not go back to their farmlands. We are not scared of the rebel groups, the Burmese forces arrest, beat and kill [civilians]. We are much more scared of them [the Burma Army] since they have been given power [under martial law].”
The information department of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) issued a statement saying they had suffered no casualties, but that three soldiers from the government side had died in the battles.
Captain Ta Aik Kyaw, the head of the information department of the TNLA said: “They launched artillery shells at the places where we might be staying. There were three battles yesterday and three soldiers from the government side died.”
President Thein Sein claimed that the combined ethnic armed groups offensives against the Burma Army in the Kokang area are an encroachment of national sovereignty so he has handed control of the area to the army by putting the Kokang area under martial law for three months.
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which is made up of 13 ethnic armed groups formed the United Nationalities Army (UNA), which includes the TNLA, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) (aka) the Kokang group, and the Shan State Progressive Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA).
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI