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Updated on August 15, 2019 From Myanmar Times

Rebel forces attack military defence academy in Pyin Oo Lwin

Members of the Northern Alliance ethnic armed group have launched an offensive on four locations including the Tatmadaw’s (Myanmar military) Defence Services Technological Academy (DSTA) in Pyin Oo Lwin which resulted in one dead and severals injured, according to local media reports on Thursday morning.

The attack came a day after Tatmadaw’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services notified ethnic armed forces which haven’t signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) to conduct negotiations, during the ceasefire period (July 1-August 31) across five regional commands in the area.

Five artillery shells exploded at the academy around 5:40am leaving a civilian dead and a military officer injured, said Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, a spokesperson for the Myanmar military.

“A civilian staff working for the academy was killed and a soldier was injured. Parts of the compound were also damaged,” said the Tatmadaw spokesperson.

The attacks were carried out by three members of the Northern Alliance, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA), which hasn’t signed the NCA, confirmed TNLA spokesperson Mong Aik Kyaw to local media.

“The Myanmar army has launched continuous offensives in our areas. They’ve penetrated deep into our inner area and we’re a tight situation regarding movement. So, we changed our tactics to defence and hit back with a counteroffensive,” he told Myanmar Now.

The other locations are at inspection gate on Shaung Road in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Region, and near Nawngcho railroad, and Asia World toll gate in Nawngcho, in Shan State.

Local residents in Nawngcho said that the toll gate run by the Asia World Company was set ablaze by rebel groups Thursday morning. Photos circulating on social media from the location show a charred body among the rubbles.

"The weapons were fired since five in the morning. Gunfires can be heard from within the city. A staff from the inspection gate was apparently burned. Three people were injured. Due to the ongoing battles in Pyin Oo Lwin, the injured are still at Nawngcho," Ko Aung, a local from Nawngcho told The Myanmar Times.

Moreover, heavy artillery strikes have been made to a Tatmadaw battalion HQ in Nawngcho as well as the Gote Twin bridge police station, said Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun.

“The [attack] was made to two locations in Pyin Oo Lwin. The DSTA and the Pyin Oo Lwin exit gate. We have controlled the situation in Pyin Oo Lwin. For Nawngcho, we have handled the situation of the town and the battalion HQ. The Tatmadaw column has arrived at the narcotics inspection gate in Nawngcho. The military is fighting back,” continued the military’s spokesperson.

The three ethnic armed groups recently released a joint statement on August 12 demanding the Tatmadaw to halt its offensives in all regions they occupy. The statement went on that the Myanmar military would be solely responsible for any consequences.

In the past, the rebel forces have only targeted the Myanmar military’s strategic stations and this incident of attacking a defence academy is a first.

This is a developing story. We will keep you updated.

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