Burmese troops and Kokang soldiers clash

Burmese Army troops and ethnic Kokang soldiers were at each other’s throat today, three days after the headquarters of the rebels in Laogai was overrun by Burmese soldiers, said the rebel’s headquarter sources.

The fighting started today at about 8 a.m. when Kokang troops loyal to the supreme leader Peng Jiasheng opened fire and recaptured the Nansan border gate, the key route to China's Yunnan province from Burmese soldiers, said the sources.

More than a dozen Burmese soldiers wearing police uniforms were detained by rebel fighters and several Burmese soldiers fled to Chinese territory by crossing the border, the sources added.

Since 4 p.m. today the clashes started again when Burmese troops marched to the Nansan border gate, said sources close to rebel fighters.

At the same time, sporadic clashes have been occurring in different areas in the rebel capital or the headquarters in Laogai. The road between Kokang territory and Kunlong has been blocked by Burmese troops, said Nansan border sources.

Thousands of people in Laogai fled to Nansan, the border city of China's Yunnan province, which is close to Kokang territory, said border sources.

Col. Hkun Okker, Joint Secretary (3) of the Thailand-based National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) told KNG, "The Kokang opening fire at the Burmese troops is politically correct and is a part of ethnic rights".

"It's the best time to counter the junta together for all ethnic ceasefire groups, without waiting for the junta to shoot first because the regime is in the midst of a political crisis, " he said.

Today, the NCUB also released a statement related to Kokang. It strongly condemned the intrusion of Burmese troops into Kokang territories for converting Kokang to a Border Guard Force under the control of the Burmese Army.

Officials of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border in Kachin State, one of the military allies, confirmed to KNG today that war has started in Kokang territories from today and the KIO is closely watching the situation.

The 4th Brigade of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of the KIO is closely watching the battle in Kokang territories and it has also put troops on alert to deter entry of Burmese troops into its territories because it is based on both sides of the Salween River (the 4th KIA brigade is based on the west side of the river and the Kokang is based on the east of the river) in northeast Shan State, said KIO officials in Laiza headquarters.

On August 24 night, the Kokang headquarters Laogai was captured without a shot being fired by the Burmese soldiers wearing police uniforms and some Kokang leaders, who staged a mutiny, and are loyal to the Burmese Army, said Kokang sources.

The sources said, Kokang troops were mainly stationed on the mountains around Laogai. The soldiers are still under the control of the leader Peng.  It cannot be said that Kokangs are defeated by Burmese troops because the headquarters has fallen, according to KIO officers, who are closely watching the Kokang situation.

Kokang has formed a military alliance with three other ethnic ceasefire groups--- the KIO, United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS)  to defend itself against any offensive of the Burmese troops.