War in NE Burma produces new IDPs

kachin-refugee-30The Burma Army’s storm-offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which started on September 24 in northeast Shan State, is producing new Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), local IDP observers said.

Hundreds of Kachin and Shan IDPs were displaced in at least six villages, especially in the controlled area of the KIA’s Brigade 4, during three-days of heavy fighting, IDP observers said.

The IDPs in villages like Daknai, Nawng Ing, Mungli, as well as villages in Htanhpa Bum Mountain and villages in Banggai Bum Mountain under control of a KIA Battalion under Brigade 4, are fleeing to the government-controlled towns of Nam-um, Nampaka and Muse, according to IDPs.

The residents of villages in KIA’s Battalion 2, near the town of Tamonye, are fleeing to Kutkai and Tamonye, said IDPs.

Some IDPs from the villages of Dima and Nawng Ing are fleeing to the China border, near Pangsai.  The morning of September 26, about 40 IDPs from Dima and Nawng Ing, in Pangsai, were prevented from crossing the China border by Burmese policemen.  They were instructed to find shelter at Pangsai Kachin Baptist Church, according to IDPs.
b9b-engAn IDP in Pangsai said, “We have to flee to the secured area because we cannot live in our village.  The government troop’s mortar rounds landed in our village and injured some villagers.  We are extremely worried about being tortured by Burmese soldiers.  So, we have to leave.”

At another Burmese border town, Mongkoe, Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers and border guard troops only allow their own citizens to cross to the Chinese border town of Manghai and prevented Burmese IDPs from entering into China, Mongkoe residents said.

More IDPs will be produced in northern Shan State because there is no sign of a stoppage in the fighting between the government troops and KIA in the short term.

On Saturday, the government launched the storm-offensive with over 1,000 troops, the largest number of troops ever deployed in the KIA’s Brigade 4 area, in Northern Shan State.

Since the civil started in Kachin State, about 10,000 Kachin IDPs have taken shelter in government-controlled Myitkyina, Waingmaw, Manmaw (Bhamo) and N’Mawk (Momauk) and over 20,000 Kachin IDPs have sheltered in the KIA headquarters at Laiza, near the China border.

The IDPs in Kachin state mainly receive aid and support from local NGOs like the Metta Development Foundation, Kachin churches and the KIO.

Until now, Kachin and Shan IDPs in Northern Shan State have not received any aid from local NGOs and international refugee agencies, said IDP observers.

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