Myanmar denies chemical weapon attack

2013-01-10 10:44
 Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers pray before taking their positions at a frontline camp in Loije township. (AFP)

Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers pray before taking their positions at a frontline camp in Loije township. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Yangon - Myanmar on Thursday denied accusations it had used chemical weapons against ethnic minority rebels in the northern state of Kachin, where an escalating conflict has overshadowed wider political reforms.

"Our military never uses chemical weapons and we have no intention to use them at all. I think the KIA [Kachin Independence Army] is accusing us wrongly," presidential spokesperson Ye Htut said.

The rebels on Wednesday said that the army had stepped up its operations in recent days, allowing troops to take territory in a push towards the KIA stronghold of Laiza on the border with China.

"It is already three days [they have] used chemical weapons [and] they are able to occupy very important posts," KIA spokesperson James Lum Dau told AFP.

He said there was an intense heat and soldiers "lost consciousness" when the shells exploded.

"Around that area everybody suffers," he added.

AFP was not able to verify the claims, which follow the recent use of air strikes by the government against the rebels in the resource-rich area.

Longstanding conflict

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict since June 2011, when a 17-year ceasefire between the government and the KIA broke down.

The rebels made a similar accusation that the army had used chemical weapons in late 2011.

The Kachin clashes, along with communal unrest in the western state of Rakhine, have marred optimism about dramatic political changes since Myanmar's widely praised emergence from decades of army rule in early 2011.

The United States and the UN have voiced concern over the air raids.

Civil war has plagued parts of the country formerly known as Burma since it won independence from Britain in 1948.

Myanmar's quasi-civilian regime has reached tentative peace deals with other major ethnic rebel groups, but an agreement with the Kachin has proved elusive.

President Thein Sein, a former general, in December 2011 ordered an end to military offensives against the rebels and continued hostilities have led to doubts over his ability to control the powerful armed forces.

Ye Htut reiterated government assertions that the army was only firing "in self-defence".

"We always open the door for peace," he said.

 

Read more on:    thein sein  |  myanmar
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.