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The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) has released a statement expressing concerns over a renewed offensive by Burmese government forces against ethnic armed groups in Kachin, Shan and Karen states, and has called on Naypyidaw to halt their assaults.
Nai Hongsa, deputy-chairperson of the UNFC ethnic bloc, said, “It is vital that these abrupt hostilities are halted as soon as possible, otherwise conflict will grow and cause negative impacts on the ongoing peace process.
“It will be hard for us to regain momentum in the ceasefire talks if peace is disrupted – we would like to urge everyone to forgive one another.”
He said the recent attacks by the Burmese army against ethnic armed groups were unprovoked and that the UNFC does not endorse use of military force to resolve problems.
The UNFC statement urged the government to find a solution and to bring about peace via roundtable dialogue.
Fighting broke out between the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and Burmese government forces in Ta Pha Saung, an area located in Shan State’s Kaese Township, on 2 October. At least five battles between opposing units took place, according to SSA-N spokesperson Col. Khun Sai.
Then, on 26 September, a fire-fight broke out in Kyaikmayaw, Mon State, between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and Burmese government forces, leaving one soldier reportedly injured.
The clashes – sometimes sporadic, at other times indicative of territory gains – come at a time when the Burmese government’s calls for a nationwide ceasefire agreement appear to be coming to a decisive stage.