Emergency extended in northern Myanmar

YANGON • Myanmar has renewed a state of emergency in a restive northern region bordering China, according to state media, which means the area will remain under direct military control during the crucial November elections.

Fierce fighting between troops and ethnic Chinese rebels erupted in February in the Kokang region of Shan state, causing thousands to flee their homes.

Kokang "remains unable to return to normalcy in terms of administration, peace and tranquillity and rule of law", said the state-backed New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The report said the state of emergency, which began in mid-February and expired on Monday, had been extended until Nov 17 by an order from the President's office. The polls, to be held on Nov 8, is seen as a test of the country's emergence from decades of junta rule.

The fighting has spiked in recent years despite the efforts of a new quasi-civilian regime to sign a nationwide ceasefire.

Peace talks earlier this month outlined a framework for what would be a historic deal, but negotiations stumbled on which rebel groups should sign.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Emergency extended in northern Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe