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Myanmar declares martial law in troubled Kokang region

2015-02-18 09:35:54       source:BBC

A state of emergency has been declared in the Kokang region of Myanmar, following intense fighting between ethnic-minority rebels and the army.


President Thein Sein has handed power in the area over to the military and imposed a three-month period of martial law.


Fighting was triggered by the return of rebel leader Phone Kya Shin after five years of exile in China.


Tens of thousands of refugees have been forced to flee their homes.


Chinese state media said there had been 30,000 border crossings by Myanmar nationals over the past week.


Violent clashes between the military and rebel fighters known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) have intensified since 9 February.


More than 50 government troops have been killed since then, according to officials, and 26 rebels have died.


Two people were shot and wounded on Tuesday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a convoy of vehicles marked with the emblem of the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS).


It was attempting to transport civilians displaced by fighting in the Kokang capital of Laukkai to the Chinese border.


(NISCSS does not necessarily share in the opinions expressed in this article.)