Escalating violence in Myanmar
By Vilhelm Stokstad – Over the last couple of months, the Burmese military has intensified its attacks on rebel groups in north and northeastern Burma. According to rebel sources, the military has been trying to drive a wedge between the different KIA brigades that protect the rebel headquarters in Laiza.
There are daily shelling of KIA outposts along the frontline. Injured rebells arrive at the military hospital in Laiza several times a week, with shrapnel wounds and landmine injuries as proof of the attacks.
The escalation in fighting comes despite new attempts at peace talks between the country’s ethnic armed groups, the military and the government. On September 14th, president Barack Obama announced he was prepared to lift the US’ long-standing economic sanctions on Burma.
On September 30th, the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon released a statement saying it was ”deeply concerned by the ongoing fighting” and urged ”relevant authorities to adhere strictly to their responsibility to protect civilians”. The Embassy statement also said that the ”increase in conflict” has ”the potential to undermine the progress and goodwill generated by the recent Union Peace Conference”.