Myanmar troops attack, thousands flee to China

The fighting was between the Myanmar Armed Forces (also known as Tatmadaw; the army of Burma’s military junta government) and several ethnic minorities. As a result of the conflict, at least 10,000 refugees are thought to have fled to Yunnan province in neighboring China.

By 20 August, however, government troops were beginning to gather near Laukkai, and Kaokang leaders reportedly urged residents to “be prepared”, which prompted even more people to flee.

On 24 August, junta troops captured and occupied Laukkai “without firing a shot”. The anti-junta Kachin News claimed that the takeover was aided by a “mutiny” staged by Kokang army leaders who had become loyal to the junta.

On Thursday, 27 August, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army began to open fire on junta troops outside the city. Later Wa, Kachin, and as many as nine other ethnic groups joined in the fighting; the United Wa State Army, Burma’s largest ethnic military force, was also involved in the fighting, as was the National Democratic Alliance Army (also known as Mong La).

On 27 and 28 there were more battles in the villages of Yan Lon Kyaik and Chin Swe Haw, near the Chinese border. Across the border, the Chinese army increased its numbers in attempt to maintain border stability.

As of 29 August, no official casualty count for either side has been released. Pheung Kya-shin claimed that his forces had killed 30 Tatmadaw troops. During the fighting a bomb was also thrown across the border into China, killing one person.

From August 8 to 12, as many as 10,000 residents fled to Yunnan province in neighboring China, becoming refugees. The total number of refugees fleeing in the entire month, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, may be as high as 30,000. Yunnan government officials stated they have established seven locations (particularly near the city of Nansan, where most of the refugees arrived) to house and treat the refugees; some locals, however, claimed that not all the refugees were being housed, or were being housed in unfinished buildings and tents.

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