Bangkok, Apr 14 (EFE).- The fighting between the Myanmar Army and rebels from the Kachin ethnic group continued Wednesday in the north of the country after several days of clashes that have resulted in significant casualties for the coup forces, according to local media.
The Myanmar Now news portal reported fighting intensified in recent days after the Kachin Independent Army (KIA) seized a base Mar. 25 near the Chinese border held by forces of the military junta since 1987.
The media said the Tatmadaw (name of the Myanmar Army) suffered losses including that of a commander, while trying to recover the base last weekend with an air and ground offensive, with hundreds of displaced soldiers.
Colonel Naw Bu, of the KIA, told The Irrawaddy newspaper that the army launched several air strikes between Saturday and Tuesday to try to recover the base and warned that “the Tatmadaw is reinforcing its soldiers and the clashes could intensify.”
The Tatmadaw has increased attacks against civilians in areas controlled by the Kachin and also the Karen (East), who have been up in arms for decades.
At least 40 people have been killed by army attacks in these areas since the Feb. 1 coup and thousands of them have had to flee their homes, especially in regions controlled by the Karen guerrillas, where 24,000 people have been displaced, according to NGO Free Myanmar Rangers.
In addition to the combat with ethnic guerrillas, the army and the police exert a brutal repression against the demonstrators who demand the return of democracy.
According to data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, at least 714 people have died from this repression while more than 3,000 people have been detained.
The Myanmar Army justifies the coup d’état on alleged electoral fraud during November’s elections, in which the party of the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide, with the endorsement of international observers. EFE