BANGKOK – Activists and a lawmaker in northern Myanmar say government air strikes and shelling of ethnic Kachin rebels have killed five civilians and wounded more than a dozen others since Saturday. The government offensive has also trapped more than 3,000 other civilians, miners of amber and their families, in mineral-rich Kachin state.
Regional lawmaker La Seng said the injuries included several civilians being treated at a hospital in Kachin state's Tanai township. Local religious leader Je Di, a Baptist minister, said the miners were kept from fleeing to safer areas by military checkpoints blocking the roads out.
The Kachin Independence Army, along with about a dozen other armed ethnic groups, has been fighting for greater autonomy from the central government.