An ethnic minority armed group in Myanmar has seized control from the country’s ruling junta of a lucrative border crossing to China, local media and a security source said Sunday.
Clashes have raged across Myanmar‘s northern Shan state, close to the Chinese border, after an armed alliance of three ethnic minority groups launched an offensive against the military in October.
The groups have seized dozens of military positions and a town important for trade with China, choking commerce routes for the cash-strapped junta.
An offensive by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) — one of the three allied groups — captured the Kyin San Kyawt border gate, a local media outlet affiliated with the group said.
“MNDAA also reported they seized one more border trade gate, which is called Kyin San Kyawt, in Mongko area, Muse district this morning,” the Kokang news reported Sunday.
It added that the alliance — including the Arakan Army (AA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) — had taken other positions in the border trade zone after the assault began on Friday.
MNDAA had raised its flag at the border trade zone at Kyin San Kyawt, a security source told AFP.
The gate was re-opened in 2022 after the pandemic, and is a major trading point along the Myanmar-China border.
Earlier in the week, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state media that roughly 120 trucks, parked near the border crossing, had gone up in flames and blamed armed groups.
The uptick in fighting has battered Myanmar’s already struggling economy, damaging vital cross-border commerce and denying the military much-needed taxes and foreign exchange.
Local reports say goods that pass through the Kyin San Kyawt crossing include machinery, electrical appliances, agricultural tractors and consumer items.