Sci-tech

More than 20000 refugees flee to China amid Myanmar ethnic conflict

More than 20000 refugees flee to China amid Myanmar ethnic conflict”

A hotel worker in the Chinese town of Nan San said many people from Myanmar were looking for a place to stay, and for food.

According to government officials, rebels from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) attacked police and military posts in the early hours of Monday, killing five civilians, five police officers and at least 20 rebel combatants.

Myanmar's leaders called on ethnic rebel groups Tuesday for an end to armed attacks following an incident that left scores of people dead in restive Shan State.

During the 2015 conflicts, almost 50 soldiers died, while tens of thousands fled across the border to China's southern province of Yunnan.

He urged both sides to adopt peaceful means in resolving their differences through dialogue and consultation.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, said at a regular press briefing on Thursday that the Myanmar residents are being offered humanitarian assistance "to temporarily avoid the war".

"We have been very scared since the fighting", said Myint Kyi, a 44-year-old construction worker who was among those sheltering in a monastery.

The violence threatens the goal of Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to reach peace with minorities.

The statement also referred to a three-day meeting of seven ethnic armed groups in Panghsang, the capital of the Wa region in eastern Shan State, hosted by The United Wa State Army (UWSA) prior to Gen Tun Mya Oo's comments last month.

About 30 people were reported to have died in an attack on 6 March in the town of Laukkai, which is located 800km (500 miles) northeast of commercial hub Yangon.

The attack came after the Nobel Peace Prize victor met a delegation of ethnic armed groups last week to convince them to participate in a major peace conference.

Many rebel groups in the border region share close cultural ties with China, speaking Chinese dialects and using the country's yuan currency.

It added that a further 20 "burned bodies" had been found alongside weapons.

An army source told AFP fighting was continuing as darkness fell.

MNDAA is part of the Northern Alliance, a coalition of rebel groups comprising one of Myanmar's most powerful militias, the Kachin Independence Army, and two smaller groups that have been in a stand-off with Myanmar's military since clashes in Kokang two years ago.

Observers believe Beijing holds some sway over the ethnic fighters and has a key role to play in peace talks that Myanmar's de facto leader Ms Suu Kyi has tried to revive since coming to power previous year.



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