The Northern Alliance launched simultaneous attacks on six locations, including the Defence Services Technological Academy, on Thursday morning.
Besides the academy in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Region, the alliance attacked a military base in Nawngcho township, Shan State, a police station, and a drug inspection checkpoint.
“We heard a loud sounds in the early morning that sounded like thunder. I found out later it was artillery fire,” said Ma Chu Satt, who lives about eight kilometres from the academy in Pyin Oo Lwin.
The attacks started at around 5am. The Northern Alliance comprises the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
The alliance said in a statement that it launched the attacks because the Tatmadaw (military) had ignored repeated warnings to stop attacking the AA, and had penetrated into other areas controlled by the three groups.
The attacks were launched to defend themselves, it added.
The alliance used both light and heavy weapons, and 107-millimetre rockets, according to the military’s True News agency.
The military said in a statement that six of the rockets were found on a hill east of the Pyin Oo Lwin-Lasho road after the attacks.
As of 4pm on Thursday, it was reported that three policemen and three civilians were killed in the attacks.
Some civilians and a soldier were injured, and a building at the academy and some vehicles were damaged.
Due to the attacks, there was a traffic jam of hundreds of vehicles on the Pyin Oo Lwin-Thibaw section of the Yangon-Mandalay-Muse road, and trade was suspended along the Mandalay-Muse route.
The attack took place a day after the military issued a statement urging the ethnic armed groups “to effectively discuss permanent peace during the ceasefire without delay.”
The statement urged those involved in the peace process to hold talks with the military and National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) without delay for the sake of the nation and its people.
The recent fighting will not affect the ceasefire, said Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, spokesperson of True News.
“The peace process will go on. The ceasefire will not be cancelled,” he said.
The military declared a unilateral ceasefire in the northern, northeastern, eastern, eastern central and triangle regional commands from December 21 through the end of this month.
The military said the attacks were caused by the seizure of K21 billion worth of drugs in July and August in Shan and Rakhine states, and heavy battle losses suffered by the Arakan Army. – Translated