Myanmar army presses rebels in north

Jan. 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM

LAIZA, Myanmar, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Rebel forces in northern Myanmar are retreating after losing a key hilltop overlooking the town where they're headquartered, government officials said.

The ethnic Kachin rebels have been fighting for greater autonomy from the government for more than 50 years and government forces pushed ahead using heavy artillery after a recent ceasefire agreement fell apart. The Myanmar army is now just two miles outside of Laiza, the capital of the Kachin region, the BBC said Saturday.

Myanmar President Thein Sein has pledged not to invade Laiza, though residents there are skeptical of the promise, the BBC said. Rebel fighters have pledged to retreat to the jungle and wage a guerrilla-style war on the army if they do invade.

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