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Beijing urges ceasefire after deadly Myanmar border clashes

AFP  |  Yangon 

today condemned fighting on its border between forces and ethnic rebels that has left 19 dead, mostly civilians, in some of the worst violence to rattle the restive frontier in recent years.

The fighting erupted yesterday when ethnic-minority insurgent groups, who are locked in a long-running battle with the state, attacked security posts around Muse, a border town and trade hub in northeastern state.

A local resident told AFP she heard gunfire through the night until early Sunday morning, with fear gripping a town that lives at the mercy of both government militias and ethnic armies fighting for more autonomy.

"We heard shooting the whole night until this morning around 6:00 am. We do not know what was going on and who was fighting," said Muse resident Aye Aye.

Yesterday's carnage, which also left at least 27 injured, was one of the bloodiest days in recent years in a long-running rebellion that is separate from the Rohingya crisis to the west.

Fighting in the remote region in early 2017 sent more 20,000 refugees scrambling across the border into China's province, raising tensions.

Today, the condemned the clashes and said it had urged "relevant parties" to reach an immediate ceasefire.

The violence "made people from the Myanmar side flee across the Chinese border, and stray bullets have entered into Chinese territory", the statement added.

Observers believe holds significant sway over the ethnic rebels near its border and is a key in a faltering peace process steered by Myanmar's Aung San

placed the peace bid -- an effort to extinguish around two dozen complicated and long-running ethnic conflicts across the country -- at the top of her agenda after she was elected to office in landmark 2015 elections.

But the effort has been severely hampered by a surge in fighting between Myanmar security forces and an alliance of rebel groups in northeastern and states.

Saturday's attacks were blamed on the Independence Army (KIA) and the Ta'ang (TNLA), which claimed responsibility for operation and apologised for the civilian deaths.

Suu Kyi, the first of the former junta-run country in decades, lacks control over security policy and the still-powerful military, which has retained key government posts in a delicate power-sharing arrangement.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 13 2018. 12:40 IST
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