Fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in northern Kachin state has forced dozens of civilians to take shelter at a Baptist church in Sumprabum, located about 80 miles north of Myitkyina.
At least 40 people from Mai Htawng village arrived at the church yesterday and it is expected that more will come over the next few days, according to church volunteers. Church officials also say they cannot continue to support the displaced people unless they get more aid.
More fighting is also said to be taking place in two other nearby villages, Hka Garan Yang and Sumpyi Yang.
Nearly the entire population of about 100 families fled Hka Garan Yang yesterday following the arrival of army reinforcements, according to a displaced resident. Most of the displaced people are thought to have taken shelter in nearby fields or forest areas. According to villagers more troops were sent to Hka Gara Yang after the KIA recently destroyed a local army post.
Currently there are more than 50,000 internally displaced people in 40 camps across Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) controlled territory in eastern Kachin state. While UN agencies have made a series of visits to these temporary camps over the past few months, the UN aid convoys were only able to help a small fraction of the displaced population.
A director with Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) a local aid group based in the KIO controlled town of Mai Ja Yang says that a major crisis looms because food supplies are running out very fast.
Army troops destroy former KIO liaison office in Sumprabum
On May 5 troops from the Burma army's Battalion No. 138 opened fire on an abandoned Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) liaison office in Sumprabum, according to local residents.
Eyewitnesses told the Kachin News Group that the office was completely destroyed after troops shot guns and grenades at the building. Burma army troops also shot at civilian homes in the town, added local people.
Following the rampage, battalion No. 138 head Lt-Col Min Thein was transported from Sumprabum via helicopter to the Northern Regional Military Command in Myitkyina, according to sources in the area.