Myanmar military resumes assault on Kokang region following rebel leader’s funeral

The Myanmar army restarted attacks on the Kokang region of northern Shan State last week, one day after sending flowers to the funeral for the founder of the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a spokesperson for the organisation told Myanmar Now. 

The assaults, which began again on March 31 in Mongpaw, Muse Township, after nearly a month-long break, have continued into April, according to MNDAA information officer Yan Naing. 

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing initially sent a letter expressing his condolences to the MNDAA after 94-year-old Peng Jiasheng’s death on February 16, and six weeks later a large flower arrangement to his funeral, held in Mongla, eastern Shan State. The ceremony was attended by Maj-Gen Myint Tun, head of the Myanmar army’s Triangle Region Command.


A flower arrangement and the letter of condolences sent by the junta commander to the MNDAA following Peng Jiasheng’s death (The Kokang)

Yan Naing added that the junta’s Light Infantry Battalion 420, under Light Infantry Division 99, launched an offensive against the MNDAA near Hugan village in the Mongpaw area on Sunday afternoon but withdrew hours later. 

“We were only defending ourselves because they started attacking us,” he told Myanmar Now. 

He said he could not provide further details regarding the fighting.

Myanmar Now’s calls to the junta’s spokesperson on renewed clashes in the Kokang region have gone unanswered.


MNDAA leader Peng Jiasheng (The Kokang)

Military assaults on MNDAA territory in the Mongko area of Muse, along the Chinese border, reignited six months after the February 2021 coup. 

Although talks were held between the Myanmar Army and the Kokang armed group in December of last year, the agenda and results of the meeting were not disclosed,  and both ground and air attacks by the junta’s forces began again days later. 

“It’s a tradition of the military to never keep their end of the deal. This is nothing out of the ordinary. This is something to be expected from them,” Yan Naing said. 

The MNDAA has been a target of army assaults since 2019, when the group refused to transform into a border guard force under the military’s control. 

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