Kachin rebels sceptical over Myanmar ceasefire
NAYPYIDAW (AFP) - Kachin rebels cast doubt on Saturday over a Myanmar government pledge to end a military offensive after weeks of intense fighting that sparked international concern, amid reports of fresh shelling.
The government move on Friday came after the country's fledgling parliament called for a halt to the fighting, which has left dozens reported dead in northern Kachin state and marred optimism about the country's political reforms.
The conflict between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has escalated in recent weeks with the use of air strikes by the military, prompting the United States and the United Nations to speak out.
A KIA official, requesting anonymity, said the military had gained "the upper hand" by surrounding the rebel stronghold of Laiza and was therefore able to declare an end to the offensive from a position of strength.