Myanmar army 'mistakenly hit' rebels

Nov 20, 2014, 11:49 PM EST
Myanmar army soldiers holding a guard of honor.
AFP/Getty Images

The Myanmar army has denied it deliberately targeted a Kachin rebel camp in a mortar attack that killed 23 people. The BBC reports:

The shell had been intended as a warning shot and was not aimed directly at the rebels, Kachin State's security minister, Col Than Aung, said. The rebels have threatened to abandon ceasefire talks because of the attack.

Myanmar's government has been in peace negotiations with the Kachin and other ethnic rebel groups.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Yangon says the government will hope its statement will be enough to persuade the rebels to show up at the next round of talks in December. The attack took place on Wednesday, in the rebel stronghold of Laiza, bordering China.

A spokesman for the Kachin Independence Army told AP news agency that government troops fired from a nearby hilltop while the rebels were conducting military training. He claimed at least 15 rebels were wounded and at least one Kachin villager was killed.