By OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER
YANGON — Four ethnic armed groups operating in the north east of country have released a statement saying they were responsible for the attacks on Tatmadaw outposts near Muse, northern Shan State on November 20.
Eight people were killed in the fighting, including three civilians, which broke out in the early morning, AFP reported.
The statement was released on November 21 and signed by the Kachin Independence Army, the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army. Calling themselves the Alliance of the Northern Brotherhoods, the coalition said they had attacked five Tatmadaw outposts due to recent offensives by the Myanmar army in large parts of the country.
The outposts attacked included at Muse’s 105-mile, Namkhan and Kutkai, all in Shan State.
The statement said the attacks were in response to recent offensives by the Tatmadaw in Kachin, Kokang, Ta’ang, Rakhine and Shan areas. It also accused the military of torturing and killing local people in the areas.
The four groups did not sign the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which was agreed between the U Thein Sein-led government and eight non-state armed groups in October 2015.
The latest fighting is likely to be another major setback to the peace process, which has stalled in recent months due to fighting in large parts of the country.
The AA, TNLA and MNDAA were not invited to the most recent peace summit, which was held in Nay Pyi Taw in late August and early September. Although the KIA attended the talks, it has been engaged in fierce fighting with the Tatmadaw for several months.
The November 21 statement said that although the coalition hopes for a peaceful resolution through political means, the attacks had been launched due to the “military pressures” it had received from the Tatmadaw.