YANGON: The situation in Myanmar's Kokang region or Shan State Special Region-1 in the northeastern part of the country remained tense with some small clashes between the Kokang ethnic army and the government forces going on Friday, reports reaching here from the border area said.
The splinter group of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), led by Bai Xuoqian, who is former deputy to the MNDAA chief Phone Kyar Shin, has in fact taken control of the situation with Bai becoming the top leader of the army, supported by the government forces, thus replacing the former chief Phone, the sources said.
So far, neither official media nor private ones reported the clashes which had lasted for days and the government did not make any comments about the Kokang situation.
The exchange of fire between the MNDAA and government forces in the last few days has caused tens of thousands of refugees flooding into Yunnan province in southwest of China, forcing border trade to a standstill.
The armed clashes began on Thursday with three battles taking place in the Kokang region, the sources also said.
The tense situation originated from a move-in of the government troops in Laukkai, the capital of the Kokang region, on August 8 when Phone Kyar Shin's residence as well as an arms factory were raided on suspicion of producing drugs and the standoff between the two forces have triggered large outflux of border inhabitants into the neighboring Yunnan province's Nansan area, according to local sources.
The MNDAA, formerly led by Phone Kyar Shin, ceasefired with the government on March 31, 1989 but was allowed to retain arms and establish the northern Shan state special region-1, enjoying self- administration on condition.
With an area of over 10,000 square-kilometer, Kokang region is located in Myanmar's northeastern part connecting China's Zhen Kung, Geng Ma, Meng Ding and Long Ling areas and has a population of about 150,000.