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Myanmar ethnic armed group claims control of town on key trade highway

July 11, 2024 00:00:00

YANGON, July 10 (AFP): Myanmar ethnic minority fighters said on Wednesday they have seized a town along a key trade highway to China following days of clashes with junta troops.

The town of Naungcho "is totally ours," General Tar Bhone Kyaw of the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) told AFP.

Earlier Wednesday a military source told AFP that ethnic minority fighters were in control of "most" of Naungcho.

Myanmar's northern Shan state has been rocked by clashes since late last month when an alliance of ethnic armed groups renewed an offensive along the highway that runs from second city Mandalay to China's Yunnan province.

Naungcho is around 50 kilometres (30 miles) along the highway from the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin, home to the military's elite officer training academy.

Another road from the town leads to Taunggyi, the capital of Shan state.

AFP was unable to reach a junta spokesman for comment.

Myanmar's borderlands are home to myriad ethnic armed groups who have battled the military since independence from Britain in 1948 for autonomy and control of lucrative resources.

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