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Kachin rebels deny involvement in attack that killed 19

2013 file photo of rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) 3rd Brigade soldiers (PHOTO: AFP)

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on Monday denied any involvement in an attack on security checkpoints in the northern Shan State border town of Muse.

On 12 May, insurgents attacked the Burmese military outpost near Pangkan bridge in Muse with heavy and small arms, leaving 19 people dead and nearly 30 wounded. Among those killed were a police captain, members of a local militia, and several civilians.

The office of Burma’s commander-in-chief on Friday made a statement alleging that two ethnic armed groups – the KIA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) – were responsible for the attack.

But KIA spokesperson Col. Naw Bo told DVB yesterday that his group was not involved.

“Unlike the TNLA, we were not involved in the assault,” he said. “The accusation by the Burmese army is simply not true.”

The TNLA released a statement yesterday claiming responsibility for the attack. The Ta’ang rebels said a firefight broke out between their troops and Burmese military and security personnel manning the Pangkan checkpoint. The TNLA said it moved in with the sole intention of shutting down a casino which it says is operated by a local Pangsay militia.