Myanmar troops break short-lived Kachin ceasefire


A soldier from the All Burma Students Democratic Front - Northern Burma, an ally of the Kachin Independence Army, holding his weapon in September, 2012, as he looks out from an outpost near Laiza. (AFP PHOTO/ Soe Than WIN)



A short lived ceasefire in Myanmar's northern Kachin state evaporated Saturday after Myanmar government troops attacked a Kachin rebel base nearby the state capital of Laiza, not far from the Chinese border.

Myanmar troops appear to have broken the ceasefire after rebels attacked government army convoys, writes the BBC.

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According to the New York Times, both sides blamed each other as the fighting began again, and some suspect the timing of the announcement was meant to coincide with a major meeting between President Thein Sein and a number influential organizations and international representatives regarding aid to Myanmar.

The Kachin Independence Organization told Al Jazeera that the fighting had continued into Sunday, and that "hundreds of government troops" were involved in an effort to retake a nearby hilltop. Al Jazeera added that no air-raids had been reported since the ceasefire began.

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The ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army was announced on Friday, a supposed end to the fierce fighting between rebels and the government that has dragged on since the end of a 17-year truce between the two groups ended in 2011.

However, as the military does not have to follow orders from the President (due to Myanmar's military-dominated political structure), some observers were unsurprised that the supposed ceasefire ended so swiftly.

Further, the initial ceasefire only applied to the area of Myanmar near the Chinese border, commonly known as Lajayang, added the New York Times.