YANGON (AFP) - At least 19 people have been killed in fresh clashes between Myanmar's military and an ethnic armed group on Saturday (May 12) in remote northern Shan State, Myanmar army and local sources told AFP, as fighting in the country's borderlands intensifies.
"Nineteen (people) were killed in fighting," the military source said, adding that two-dozen had been injured.
Rights defenders say clashes in northern Myanmar near the China border have ramped up in recent months as the international community focuses on the Rohingya crisis in the west of the country.
The military stands accused of carrying out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the stateless minority in Rakhine.
Saturday's violence was between the military and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, or TNLA, one of several insurgent groups fighting for more autonomy in the north.
"Fighting took place since 5am this morning at three places: two military bases in Muse and one near a bridge on the way to Lashio town," TNLA spokesman Major Mai Aik Kyaw told AFP, citing two of the towns in northern Shan where the clashes occurred.