Report: 10,000 flee fighting in northern Myanmar

By the Associated Press | June 16, 2011 | 8:41 AM EDT

BANGKOK (AP) — As many as 10,000 people have reportedly become refugees from fighting in northern Myanmar between government troops and a militia of the Kachin ethnic minority.

The website of the Kachin News Group, associated with anti-government Kachin exiles, quoted one of the group's leaders saying that more than 10,000 refugees had fled territory under government control to six temporary camps near the Chinese border. The report said China had closed the border to refugees, but Beijing has denied doing so.

The fighting began June 9 when government troops allegedly shelled a Kachin base in a bid to force the rebel fighters from a strategic region where China is constructing major hydropower plants. The total number of casualties so far remains unclear.