Myanmar's government says allied minority rebel groups and former Chinese soldiers recruited as mercenaries are supporting ethnic Kokang rebels in fighting against government troops.

Myanmar's chief of military affairs security, Lt. Gen. Mya Tun Oo, made the claim Saturday as a broader spectrum of ethnic rebel groups issued a statement of moral support for the Kokang.

The United Nationalities Federal Council said the Kokang, who occupy a special region in Myanmar near the Chinese border, share the groups' demand for greater autonomy from the central government. The UNFC urged the government to make peace with the Kokang through current multilateral negotiations they hope will lead to a political settlement with all the groups.

Mya Tun Oo said the Kokang were retreating after two weeks of combat.