06/16/2011, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Clashes between the Kachin and Burmese army, two political leaders arrested

The ethnic minority militias destroy bridges in the nearby Shan State, to cut government troops communication lines. Nearly a thousand people have fled the conflict zone. Authorities arrest Zahkung Ting Ying and Waw Lau, Kachin politicians.
Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Clashes continue between Burmese troops and Kachin State rebels in northern Myanmar on the border with China. Today, the Kachin Independent Army militia (Kia) destroyed several bridges in the nearby Shan state, to cut the army communication lines and block new attacks. Meanwhile, a group of Burmese ethnic minority activists denounced the arrest of two leaders Kachin (Zahkung Ting Ying and Lau Waw), whoa are not involved in the current conflict.

Last week open conflict erupted between the Burmese army and Kachin rebels in the area where a hydroelectric power plant will be built to supply energy to China. The local newspaper Kachin News Group (Kng) reports that in two days "nearly a thousand Kachin refugees have reached the headquarters of Kia Laize, on the border between China and Myanmar" (see 15/06/11 AsiaNews, Clashes between the army and the Burmese Kachin: 20 dead Chinese workers on the run).

The Kia is one of many armed groups that refer to ethnic minorities, who for decades have been fighting against the Burmese central government for greater autonomy. Some militias have reached a compromise with the military junta, agreeing to become border guards. The truce between the army and Kia ended last year, when the rebel leaders definitively rejected the proposal to be part of the border guards.

The latest conflict was apparently triggered by the army's attempt to oust Kia militias from the site in which the hydroelectric plant will be built. The leaders of the minority are opposed to the project, because it might upset the environmental ecosystem.

 
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