, , , , , ,

YANGON: Myanmar’s army captured a key strategic outpost in an escalating conflict in northern Kachin state, rebels said Saturday, as the government issued a rebuke to the US over its concerns about the fighting.

Bloody unrest has continued despite a government announcement of a unilateral ceasefire earlier this month, with fighting edging ever closer to the rebels’ headquarters in the busy town of Laiza on the Chinese border.

The Myanmar foreign ministry said a US embassy statement, which was issued on Thursday and said the United States “strongly opposes the ongoing fighting”, had implied the army was the sole aggressor. Myanmar said the US release “could cause misunderstanding in the international community”, in a response printed in the state-run English language newspaper New Light of Myanmar.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin state since June 2011, when a 17-year ceasefire between the government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke down. The conflict has resulted in civilian casualties, although the exact number killed is unknown.