The Myanmar army said that a deadly artillery attack on an insurgent military academy had been intended only as a “warning” strike, local media reported, amid mounting tensions ahead of renewed negotiations for a ceasefire.
Twenty-three cadets were killed on Wednesday when a shell hit the training center on the outskirts of Laisa, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) capital on the border with China in Kachin State.
Colonel Than Aung, minister of border security in Kachin State, said the army was not aware that training was going on in the area and that the site was not the intended target, according to a report on The Irrawaddy Web site.
“We feel very sorry for this loss of life and we hope the peace process will not be affected,” he told a news conference in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina on Thursday.
La Nan, a spokesman for the KIA, denied the claim that the artillery attack was an accident.
“The school is only about 6km away from them and they were able to pinpoint the target very easily,” he said by telephone. “We’re sure they attacked on the school on purpose.”
A senior military official told Reuters the attack — the deadliest since a ceasefire agreement broke down in 2011 — came amid rising tensions between the military and the KIA, which he said had shelled government soldiers building a road near Laisa.
The attack comes as representatives from various ethnic armed groups prepare to meet military officials for the next round of negotiations on a nationwide ceasefire, which the government has said it wants before next year’s election.
The latest round of peace talks between guerrilla groups and the semi-civilian government that took over in 2011 after nearly 50 years of military rule ended on Sept. 27 without agreement.
Most of the rebel groups have been battling for greater autonomy under a federal system, but the military has long stressed the need for strong, centralized government, as set down in a 2008 military-drafted constitution.
KIA Deputy Commander Gun Maw said that recent attacks were intended to pressure the KIA to sign an agreement with terms favourable to the military and could be a ploy to delay the elections.
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures