06/22/2011, 00.00
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Civil war between Burmese army and ethnic militias in Kachin and Shan States

KIA troops hit bridge linking Mandalay con Myitkyina to cut off army supplies. Overnight, three mines are set off near government sites in Kachin State capital. Humanitarian crisis gets worse as more than 2,000 people become refugees. Conflict area is now at risk of cholera risk.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – The States of Kachin and Shan, in northern Myanmar, are on the verge of civil war with local ethnic militias fighting Myanmar’s army. Mines have exploded, a bridge has been blown up, communication lines have been cut and people are dying in ambushes. The resulting humanitarian crisis is fast getting worse with some 2,000 people forced to flee their homes in Kachin territory. Activists and humanitarian associations have sounded the alarm. People are running out of food and medicine and there is a risk for outbreaks of cholera, flu and malaria.

Overnight, rebel troops from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) blew up a bridge over the Namkoi River, which connected the city of Mandalay to Myitkyina, the state capital. The rebels targeted the sensitive site because it is used by government forces to bring in men and materiel.

On Tuesday night, they also set off three mines in quick succession in the state capital, targeting buildings of the military-backed Burmese government. There were no casualties.

The KIA, the second largest ethnic armed group in Myanmar, gave the green light to its soldiers to attack government troops as well as all government infrastructures.

The violence flared up on 9 June and the situation appears to be becoming more critical.

Sources told AsiaNews that ethnic militias are planning to attack government forces. An alliance among various minority groups, Kachin, Shan and others, could weaken the junta’s hold over the country. In fact, despite a recent handover of power to a civilian government, the military are the real power.

In the meantime, the humanitarian crisis in the conflict zone is getting worse. More than 2,000 Kachin refugees have had to abandon their homes and are now in need of food, shelter and medical assistance

Activists are concerned about possible outbreaks of malaria, flu and diarrhoea. Cases of cholera have also been reported, but no deaths so far.

Most of the refugees are from Momauk, Bhamo, Mansi and Waingmaw townships.
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