CONFLICTS

Humanitarian groups seek halt to war in northern Myanmar

Twenty-two humanitarian and development groups have called on Myanmar's government to cease its armed conflict with ethnic rebels in the country's north and attend to the urgent needs of the many people displaced by the fighting.

The groups signing the statement, circulated Thursday, include the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, Plan International and Save the Children.

Kachin state and northern Shan state have been wracked by intense fighting since November, with the government employing airstrikes and heavy artillery attacks. It is fighting guerrillas from the Kachin minority and three other ethnic groups seeking greater autonomy.

Kachin activists accuse the army of blocking humanitarian assistance to the area, an allegation the military denies.