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19 dead in fighting between Myanmar army, rebels

19 dead in fighting between Myanmar army, rebels

An attack by an insurgent group killed at least 19 people on Saturday in a town in north-eastern Myanmar, on the country's border with China, officials said.

The conflict, including in the northern-most state of Kachin, has escalated over the past month as the worldwide focus remains on the Rohingya crisis in the west of the country.

Human rights groups on Saturday urged Myanmar to drop charges against activists protesting military offensives in Kachin State, which borders Shan State. In the past few months, clashes between rebels and the military in Myanmar's northeastern region have intensified, resulting in thousands of displaced in neighbouring Kachin state.

Some 32 people, including 27 civilians, three policemen, and two local paramilitary forces were injured in the attack led by the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, or TNLA, on Muse town, a major border crossing with China, he added.

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The Office of Commander-in-Chief issued a statement yesterday that KIA/TNLA insurgent groups jointly carried out attacks on a police camp on Pankham Bridge, head of Nankham Myoma People's Militia Group U Aike San's house, Manwain gate and Naungyan village near Pankham Bridge. Video on social media showed smoke rising above Muse's prominent trading centre.

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"The attack to target innocent people is not asking for ethnic rights", he said.

Among those killed in the attacks are one police officer and six members of people's militia group. "It is just a destructive terrorist act".

The Ta'ang National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

More than 100,000 displaced people now reside in camps in Kachin and Shan states since a ceasefire between the KIA the military broke down in 2011, according to the latest United Nations statistics.

Reverend Hkalam Samsun, chairman of the Kachin Baptist Convention, said the Kachin people were "disappointed" with Suu Kyi.