At least 19 people were killed in clashes between Myanmar’s military and an ethnic insurgent group in the remote northern Shan state close to the Chinese border, AFP reported quoting unidentified military officials.

Among the dead were 18 civilians and a policeman, DPA reported. About 32 people, including 27 civilians, three policemen, and two local paramilitary troopers were injured in the attack.

The encounters between the Myanmar military and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, or TNLA, have reportedly increased in recent months while the global focus has remained on the Rohingya refugee crisis in the western part of the country.

“Fighting took place since 5 am this morning [4 am Indian Standard Time] at three places: two military bases in Muse and one near a bridge on the way to Lashio town,” the rebel group’s spokesperson Major Mai Aik Kyaw told AFP.

The TNLA claimed that its attack was a response to the Myanmar Army’s recent offensives against the Kachin Independence Army, which is one Myanmar’s most powerful ethnic minority armed groups.