Myanmar denies chemical arms use

AFP-JIJI

Myanmar on Thursday denied accusations it used chemical weapons while shelling ethnic minority rebels in an escalating conflict in the northern state of Kachin.

“Our military never uses chemical weapons and we have no intention to use them at all. I think the (Kachin Independence Army) is accusing us wrongly,” presidential spokesman Ye Htut said.

The rebels said Wednesday that the army had stepped up its operations in recent days in a push toward the KIA stronghold of Laiza, on the border with China. “It is already three days (during which they have) used chemical weapons (and) they are able to occupy very important posts,” said KIA spokesman James Lum Dau, adding rebel soldiers felt an intense heat and some “lost consciousness” when the shells exploded.