The armed coalition of ethnic minority groups, behind the ongoing offensive in northern Burma on the border with China, seized several military sites on Saturday, local media reported.
This week, fighting intensified in large areas of northern Shan state near the Chinese border, forcing more than 23,000 people to abandon their homes, according to the United Nations.
The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and Arakan Army (AA) claim to have captured dozens of outposts and four cities, blocking important trade routes to China.
According to local media, TNLA fighters on Saturday took control of two positions guarded by pro-regime militias near Lashio, the largest city in northern Shan State.
The movement said it took control of three military sites in the east.
The junta has not yet commented on Saturday’s clashes, but a spokesman on Thursday dismissed claims that armed groups had seized several towns in Shan State as “propaganda”.
Journalists from Agence France-Presse were arrested on Saturday in the Chinese province of Yunnan at a police checkpoint about fifty kilometers from the Chinshweihaw border crossing, which the Burmese army admitted on Wednesday that it had lost control of.
More than a dozen ethnic groups operate in Burma, especially in border areas, demanding greater political autonomy, control of part of the country’s natural wealth or lucrative trade.
Some of them trained and equipped armed groups made up of political opponents that spread across the country after the 2021 coup and the repression that followed.