Military launches major assault on Kokang base on China-Myanmar border 

Junta forces carried out a three-day attack this week on a base of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) located in Laukkai Township on northern Shan State’s border with China, the ethnic Kokang armed organisation said in a Thursday statement.

On Sunday afternoon, some 90 junta personnel—including both Myanmar army soldiers and members of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia—reportedly began the assault on the site at the base of Nam Pha hill near the town of Chin Shwe Haw, 20 miles south of Laukkai’s administrative centre. 

The attack continued through the late afternoon on Tuesday, with the MNDAA claiming that 12 Myanmar military troops were killed in total, among whom were two squadron commanders. Eight, including a battalion commander, were injured. 

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the MNDAA’s figures regarding deaths and injuries on the side of the military.

The armed group did not release information on casualties among its own members, but said they buried the slain junta soldiers, who were found scattered throughout the Chin Shwe Haw area. They also seized weapons and ammunition which had been left behind. 

In its statement, the MNDAA did not comment on whether there were casualties among its own members. 

During the assault on the Nam Pha hill base, the junta also reportedly sent in around 500 reinforcements.

A 50-year-old resident of the Chin Shwe Haw area said that he could hear the fighting from the town. 

“We could occasionally hear heavy weapons going off, but we didn’t hear many gunshots,” he told Myanmar Now, adding that the battle seemed “very serious.” 

Several local news outlets reported that junta units stationed in Laukkai fired both heavy and light weapons into the Chin Shwe Haw area during the early morning hours on Wednesday. However, two local sources in the town said that by later in the day fighting appeared to have ceased, noting that the military was believed to have withdrawn from the area around Nam Pha hill.

Myanmar army troops blocked roads and set up checkpoints to search vehicles entering and exiting Laukkai on Wednesday morning, according to locals. 

On November 15 and 16, the MNDAA also reported engaging in clashes near Nam Pon village in Lashio Township with the junta’s Infantry Battalion 291 under Military Operations Command 16. 

The military council has not released any information on recent battles in northern Shan State.

In mid-December of last year, the MNDAA—as part of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee, a coalition of seven ethnic armed organisations—met with representatives of the Myanmar military in Mongla, eastern Shan State. 

The agenda and results of the meeting were not disclosed. Days later, the military launched a major offensive against the Kokang armed group in the Mong Ko area of Muse Township, also located along the Chinese border. 

The MNDAA is also a member of the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army. The Arakan Army entered into an informal truce with the Myanmar military in late November. 

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