Myanmar declares state of emergency in Kokang region

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Yangon, Feb 17 (IANS) The Myanmar government Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Kokang region of the northeastern Shan state and introduced martial law following week-long armed clashes between the government forces and the Kokang ethnic army.

The announcement, signed by President U. Thein Sein and broadcast through the state-run Myanmar Radio and Television, said armed clashes in the Kokang region were widespread, leading to the failure of the local government administration mechanism, Xinhua reported.

The state of emergency will be effective for 90 days, the announcement said.

The government also declared martial law, entrusting full administrative and judiciary power of the self-administered zone to the country’s Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The announcement is a follow-up of the curfew imposed on the region since last Thursday.

Heavy fighting broke out in the region Feb 9 between the government forces and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). During the week-long clashes, the government forces carried out five air strikes against the MNDAA, termed by the government as Kokang renegade troops.

The government forces have recovered 26 bodies of the Kokang ethnic army and seized some small weapons and ammunition during the clashes. Meanwhile, 47 government troop officers and soldiers have lost their lives and 73 others wounded.

The battlefield mainly covered areas of Laukkai, Kongyan and Yan Lone Kyaine of the Kokang region.

The armed clashes have impacted the lives and properties of local people and the region’s security, the government said in an earlier release, adding that the government forces would continue its mopping-up operation against the MNDAA and other ethic forces allegedly involved in the clashes.