Conflict & Justice

Myanmar military seizes key rebel outpost in northern Kachin state


MYANMAR: An injured rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier gets an injection from a medic on Hka Ya mountain in Kachin province on January 20, 2013. Kachin ethnic minority rebels in war-torn northern Myanmar accused the military of launching a fresh attack on January 20, just days after a ceasefire pledge by the country's reformist government.



Myanmar government forces have captured a key hilltop position from rebels in north Kachin state, the latest move in the ongoing bloody battle near the Chinese border. 

The rebel forces have given up Hka Ya hilltop, the last defense before their headquarters in the Kachin capital of Laiz, BBC News reported.

It is not yet clear if the government forces will storm the capital. 

The fighting along the Chinese border has continued even as Myanmar's government set a unilateral ceasefire mid-January, Al Jazeera English reported

A 17-year ceasefire between the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the government broke down in June 2011, displacing thousands of people in the state. 

Also on Saturday, Myanmar rejected the US government's denouncement of the violence, saying that the statement from Washington "could cause misunderstanding in the international community" because they did not mention "terrorist actions and atrocities committed by the KIA," only army actions, ABC News reported

In a statement, the Myanmar Foreign Ministry defended the army, also called Tatmadaw, accusing the rebels of attacking government forces immediately after the ceasefire was announced, according to the New York Times

“As KIA troops have constantly launched such terrorist attacks, the Tatmadaw had to take military actions just to protect and safeguard the peace and tranquility of the community and for the prevalence of law and order,” the statement said.

The country also rejected the use of its former name, "Burma," saying that the US should avoid actions or phrasing that would negatively affect "mutual respect" between the two countries, Al Jazeera reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Myanmar: the cease-fire that wasn't