Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi said ending Myanmar's long history of clashes was her main priority after she took power in 2016, but she shares power with the military that fought the insurgencies for decades.
At least 19 people have been killed in fresh clashes between Myanmar's military and an ethnic armed group on Saturday in remote northern Shan State, Myanmar army and local sources told AFP, as fighting in the country's borderlands intensifies.
Images and video from the skirmishes shared on social media showed armed men fanning out across a residential street while a rebel soldier took cover behind a vehicle.
The army has been accused of systematic human rights violations against the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority in the western state of Rakhine, forcing more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since last August. He told dpa earlier that just 17 people were killed in the attack. The sound of automatic gunfire filled the air as ambulances picked up the wounded.
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"This is not the ethnic rights movement", said government spokesperson, Zaw Htay. Two of the attacks occurred at military bases and the other at a bridge.
L Soe Htan Tu, a spokesman for the government in Muse, confirmed that at least 20 people had been brought to Muse's main hospital with serious injuries, but said he didn't know how many were dead.
A spokesman for the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, known for its campaigns against drug production and distribution, said it had targeted soldiers and militia members who ran a casino.
The TNLA claimed that its attack was a response to the Myanmar Army's recent offensives against the Kachin Independence Army, which is one Myanmar's most powerful ethnic minority armed groups. "We feel sorry for civilian deaths".