YANGON - Two civilians were killed on Sunday when fighting broke out in a northern Myanmar town on the border with China, a region long plagued by ethnic rebel insurgencies.
The latest clashes are another blow to civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's hopes of forging a nationwide peace agreement after years of war in Myanmar's many ethnic minority border regions.
Locals in the town of Muse, a hotbed of smuggling, reported that fighting began in the early morning.
"People from (the) border checkpoint are now fleeing to Muse because of heavy fighting," Aye Aye, a resident of the town, told AFP.
"A man and a woman died because of gunshot wounds after they arrived in hospital this morning," said a worker at the local hospital, asking for anonymity, adding that some 25 others were wounded.
Fighting between Myanmar's military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin state, which reignited in 2011 after the collapse of a 17-year ceasefire, has displaced around 100,000 people and spilled over into parts of neighbouring Shan state.
Muse lies in the north of Shan, not far from Kachin, and is separated from China by a river.