Bangkok (AFP) – The military government in Myanmar admitted to withdrawing its forces from it A major city on the northeastern border with China After it was controlled by an alliance of ethnic armed groups, it has been fighting for months.
The fall of Laokaing late Thursday is the largest in a series of defeats suffered by the military government in Myanmar since the revolution. The ethnic alliance launched an attack on October 27. It highlights the pressure the government is under as it battles pro-democracy rebels in the wake of the military coup in 2021 as well as Armed groups with ethnic minorities Across the country.
Ethnic armed organizations have struggled for greater autonomy for decades, but Myanmar has suffered what amounts to chaos. Civil war since the army seized power In February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking nationwide armed resistance by pro-democracy forces.
The Three Brotherhood alliance that captured Laokaing consisted of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army. MNDAA is a military force for the Kokang minority, who are ethnic Chinese.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed a huge amount of weapons that the coalition claimed to have seized.
Laokaeng is the capital of the Kokang Autonomous Region, which is geographically part of Northern Shan State in Myanmar.
Myanmar government spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun told Popular News Journal, a pro-military website, on Saturday that the military and local commanders relinquished control of Laokaing after considering several aspects, including the safety of the soldiers' family members. stationed there.
He added that the military also took into account Myanmar's relationship with China, which lies just across the border from Laokaeng. China, which has good relations with both the military and the ethnic alliance, is seeking to end the fighting.
Beijing protested after artillery shells fell on its territory on Wednesday, wounding five people. Zaw Min Tun said the coalition fired missiles and tried to blame the military in order to damage its relationship with China.
The coalition announced in a statement posted on social media late Friday that the entire Kokang region had become a “junta-free zone,” referring to Myanmar’s ruling military junta.
It added that 2,389 army personnel, including six brigadier generals, and their family members had surrendered by Friday and were all evacuated to safety.
Video clips circulated on social media showed the soldiers and their family members being transported in various vehicles. Many of them were transferred to Lashio, the capital of the northern Shan region, under an agreement with the Bangladesh National Liberation Movement (BNLM) to repatriate them, Shwei Phi Myai News Agency, an online news website reporting from Shan State, reported.
It is unclear whether the Three Brotherhood alliance will try to expand its offensive beyond Shan State, but it has pledged to continue the fight against military rule.
The coalition portrayed its attack as a struggle against military rule and an attempt to rid the region of major organized criminal institutions. China has publicly sought to crack down on online scams in Laoqing, which have ensnared tens of thousands of Chinese citizens who have been repatriated to China in recent weeks.
But the attack was also widely recognized as an attempt by the MNLD to regain control of the autonomous Kokang region by expelling the rival Kokang group backed by the military government from its seat of power.
The coalition has captured more than 250 military targets and five border crossings with China, Peng Deren, commander of the MNDAA, said in a New Year's speech published by The Kokang, an affiliated online media website. He said that more than 300 electronic fraud centers were raided, and more than 40,000 Chinese who participated in the operations were returned to their homeland.
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