In Photos: Muse rumoured to be next target of resistance forces set on driving junta out of northern Shan State

Activity in downtown Muse has continued, even as military tension escalates around the critical border trade town following the seizure of the nearby 105-Mile Trade Zone by allied ethnic armed organisations

Locals are speculating that the major northern Shan State trade hub of Muse—located opposite Ruili in China—may be the next town to be targeted for seizure by the Brotherhood Alliance of ethnic armed organisations, which for nearly two months have been carrying out a sweeping offensive aimed at driving the junta out of the region. 

The allied Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army took control of the 105-Mile Trade Zone, six miles east of Muse, on December 15, closing in on the city. They also captured a junta base at the Kyin San Kyawt border gate—one of five in the trade zone—in late November, as well as other military camps in the vicinity of Muse.

A Mandalay-based trader said he hoped the Brotherhood Alliance would reopen the commercial zone and the border gates “as soon as possible.” 

“I want the ethnic armed organisations to take charge of reopening the border crossings as things are going to get much more difficult for the civilians,” he explained.

Residents of Muse told Myanmar Now that some people had already fled, anticipating clashes in the days to come, yet for those who stayed, daily activities were seen continuing as usual around the town’s markets this weekend.

The Brotherhood Alliance launched Operation 1027 against the Myanmar military in northern Shan State on October 27, resulting in a series of escalating battles and leading to the seizure of several border towns—none of which match the importance of Muse. The town handles nearly 90 percent of all cross-border trade with China, which was valued at more than US$2 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year.

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