YANGON, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The Myanmar government said on Sunday that 126 soldiers have been killed and 359 injured so far since a fighting with the Kokang ethnic army erupted on Feb. 9.
During the 253 engagements with Kokang's Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) as of April 15, the government troops seized 74 bodies of the MNDAA, arrested 22 and confiscated 226 arms, ammunition and narcotic drugs, the military-run Myawaddy said.
The government forces have cleared plenty of explosive mines and barricades on communication routes in northeastern Kokang region, which were planted and erected by the Kokang ethnic army.
The roads in San Ta Aik Shan area cleared by the government forces over the last three days included those between Parsinkyaw and BP-137, one linking Laukkai and Chin Shwe Haw, and an inter- connected road between villages on Lonehtan and San Ta Aik Shan highland.
During its latest offensive, the government forces seized four more strategic hilltops and villages.
With the seizure of these hilltops, the government troops took control of key locations of Laukkai, the capital of Kokang region.
Meanwhile, peace negotiators of the Myanmar government and ethnic armed groups concluded negotiation of a draft nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), which was preliminarily signed in Yangon on March 31.
The ethnic armed groups' Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) insisted that it will be impossible to gain peace if the MNDAA is excluded from the nationwide ceasefire agreement.
Moreover, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), in an open letter, demanded President U Thein Sein stop all offensives against the Kokang ethnic army.