Myanmar government and rebels trade charges over upsurge in fighting

The government and ethnic Kachin rebels are blaming each other for an upsurge in fighting in northern Myanmar, with the government denying it carried out air attacks on rebel-held territory.

President's office director Maj. Zaw Htay said Monday that helicopters and jets alleged by the Kachin to have carried out attacks in recent days were actually used to supply government units whose access to supplies by road has been cut off by the Kachin Independence Army.

The government says the upsurge in fighting followed the Christmas Eve destruction of a power pylon by the rebels.

KIA spokesman La Nan said by email that the fighting was sparked by a government offensive against the rebels. The two sides have been battling on-and-off for 18 months.