Government forces, rebels clash in Myanmar’s jade mining area

August 31st, 2012 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Aug 31 (IANS) Myanmar government forces and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) rebels have exchanged fire in Pha-Kant jade mining area in the country’s northernmost Kachin state over the past three days, the information ministry said Friday.

However, the ministry disclosed no details about the casualties, reported Xinhua.

Retreating from a battle on Tuesday and Wednesday which took place 5 km west of Pha-kant, the KIA set fire to the machinery used by private jade mining companies and to some buildings owned by the companies along the route of retreat, sources said.

The government troops are in pursuit of the KIA rebels, the sources added.

According to the ministry, the government forces started operation against the KIA Monday after the KIA threatened the security of local miners in villages by extorting money and burning mining machinery.

So far 10 out of 11 ethnic armed groups have signed peace agreements with the government at state or central level. KIA has not arrived at a settlement with the government.

Although three rounds of peace talks have been held in China’s border town of Ruili between Myanmar’s central government and the KIA since November 2011, no tangible outcome was achieved.

The clashes in Kachin state have forced more than 60,000 local people to flee.

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