[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

UN calls for end to Myanmar clashes

UN calls for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" to allow humanitarian access to displaced persons.

Last updated: 18 Nov 2013 15:55
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Fighting in Kachin, near the northern border with China, erupted in June 2011 when a 17-year ceasefire crumbled [AP]

The United Nations has called for an immediate end to clashes between Myanmar troops and ethnic Kachin rebels, as hundreds of civilians remain trapped in a remote area with limited food and shelter.

Skirmishes have affected at least 2,300 people in the Bhamo-Mansi area, including many who had already been displaced by previous fighting, the UN said Monday in a statement from Yangon.

The UN expressed particular concern for an estimated 700 students whose boarding school was surrounded on the weekend by Myanmar troops.

"These students and their teachers... were surrounded and blockaded inside the school compound but an appeal by the Catholic Church led to their release" later that evening, the UN said.

The UN called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" to allow humanitarian access to displaced persons.

Fighting in Kachin, near the northern border with China, erupted in June 2011 when a 17-year ceasefire crumbled. It has displaced approximately 100,000 people.

Along with religious unrest elsewhere in the country, the Kachin conflict has overshadowed widely praised political changes as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule.

President Thein Sein's reformist government has reached tentative peace deals with most major ethnic minority rebel groups in the country, which has been racked by civil wars since independence from Britain in 1948.

Despite talks, peace in Kachin has so far remained elusive, thwarting government efforts to cement a nationwide ceasefire that would burnish its reform credentials.

Speaking in Yangon, the Kachin Independence Army's second-in-command confirmed that clashes took place around the school in Nam Lim Pa village near the Chinese border.

General Gum Maw said Myanmar troops entered the area with a relief convoy and "fighting broke out."

"The fighting has been on and off. They were fighting yesterday [Sunday] and also today as they are close to our forces," he told reporters, noting the clashes would not derail the tentative peace process, with talks between the government and an umbrella organisation representing several ethnic groups scheduled for December.

332

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.