A handout photo made available by the KoKang media shows the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) soldiers clean the road near the border gate in Chinshwehaw, northern Shan State, Myanmar, 29 October 2023 (issued 03 November 2023). EFE-EPA FILE/HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

90,000 displaced in Myanmar amid rebel offensive against military junta: UN

Bangkok, Nov 10 (EFE).- Around 90,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Myanmar as a result of the recent offensive by a powerful alliance of ethnic guerrillas against the military junta in the country’s northern Shan state, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The Brotherhood Alliance – made up of three ethnic guerrillas, launched the attack on Oct. 27, targeting several cities and military posts in Kokang region in northwestern Shan, bordering China.

“Almost 50,000 people in northern Shan were forced into displacement in religious compounds with relatives. Many have also moved towards the border with China, and others are still trying to cross,” OCHA said in its latest report on Thursday, US time.

A total of 17 civilians have been killed and 39 injured, according to the UN.

During the two weeks of the offensive, other ethnic armed groups joined the operation and extended the fighting zone throughout the state and other neighboring regions, such as Sagaing, where on Monday rebel forces took control of the city of Kawlin.

According to OCHA, some 40,000 people were still displaced from this city due to the clashes while another 10,000 who left have returned to their homes.

“A halt in clashes and unimpeded access by all parties are critical to ensuring the delivery of timely, life-saving services to people in need,” the UN agency stressed.

The joint offensive poses one of the biggest challenges for the military junta since it took power through a coup on Feb. 1, 2021.

The coup ended a decade of transition towards democracy and ousted the elected government led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been imprisoned since the uprising.

The coup has plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social, and economic crisis and exacerbated the country’s decades-long ethnic conflicts. EFE