BANGKOK – Myanmar government forces launched airstrikes against ethnic minority guerrillas in two areas of the country on Wednesday, local reports said.
Fighting has been raging daily in northern Myanmar in territory controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization, representing the Kachin minority, and in the east by the Karen National Union, representing the Karen.
Both groups have struck alliances with the popular movement opposing the military junta that seized power in the country in February after ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Generally non-violent marches against military rule continue in many cities and towns, despite the security forces' use of lethal force to stop them.
The Kachin and the Karen have been struggling for decades for greater autonomy from the central government and have their own well-armed and trained military units, whose help the protest movement has been seeking to counter the government’s armed might.
Col. Naw Bu, a Kachin spokesman, said fighting against the junta’s forces intensified Wednesday, reported 74 Media, an online news service in Kachin state.
It quoted him as saying that since Tuesday, the government has used heavy artillery and fighter jets to attack a Kachin position at the foot of Alaw Bum mountain. The position had been a government outpost but was seized by the Kachin on March 25.
Naw Bu said heavy fighting has been continuing in the area for five days, causing most civilians to flee.