Myanmar confirms mopping-up operation in three areas in northernmost state

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Myanmar state media confirmed Sunday that the military has launched a mopping-up operation in three main areas in northernmost Kachin state early this month against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

A total of eight members of armed forces from the government side died and 16 were injured in the operation, while the KIA lost 14 with some arms and ammunition confiscated in Mansi-Pankham, Moemauk townships and Bahmo-Seinlone-Lwejie road link on April 4 and 13.

The government claimed to have occupied back Mansi in the fighting where part of KIA was based.

It said that the operation was launched to ensure the safety of the areas after KIA ambushed the government troops.

Mansi-Pankham was an area where the government once opened the official border trade point with neighboring China and checks were done on border trade activities there, reports said.

Due to attacks by KIA in June and August 2011 in the area, the authorities abandoned their offices and the KIA entered the area and set up their base.

Since the president announced suspension of attacks on armed groups on Dec. 10, 2011 in pursuit of peace, the government forces remained responsible only for ensuring the safety of communication link there and abiding by the agreements reached between the two sides during their previous peace talks.

The authorities claimed that after the mopping-up operation, border trade activities in Bahmo-Seinlone-Lwejie road have returned to normal.

The April clashes came when the government's Peace-Making Work Committee (UPWC) and ethnic armed groups' National Cease-fire Coordination Team (NCCT) met in Yangon for talks to coordinate on jointly drafting a single text document for the nationwide cease- fire proposal.

During the ceasefire talks on April 8, Myanmar government and ethnic groups agreed to draft nationwide ceasefire agreement which will be presented for further discussions set for the first week of May. Endi

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