19 Jan 2013

End to Kachin offensive announced

4:15 pm on 19 January 2013

Myanmar has announced an end to a military offensive against rebels in the northern state of Kachin.

A statement on Friday from the information ministry followed a vote in parliament calling for a halt to the fighting. The statement said:

"The commander in chief reaffirmed that the Tatmadaw (military) will follow the command of the president not to carry out offensive attacks except in self-defence.

"But in an armed conflict, both sides need to halt attacks to cool tensions."

AAP reports that conflict between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army escalated recently with the use of air strikes by the military.

The government said a year ago it had ordered the military to halt offensives against ethnic minority rebels, but the Kachin conflict continued.

The government has said that recent strikes against the KIA were to regain control of a strategically important hill in the area of La Gyar Yang.

A truce with the rebels ended in mid-2011 after 17 years.