Clashes between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma army in northern Shan State Mongkoe township last month forced more than 700 Kachin civilians to flee from their village to the Chinese border, according to a local pastor involved in the relief efforts.
Sumlut Brang San, the director of the relief committee for the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in Muse township told the Kachinnews that the situation facing the refugees remains a serious concern.
Hundreds of refugees from 8 villages near the Hpawng Seng region of Mongkoe township on the west side of the Salween river were denied entry into Chinese territory by Chinese government authorities when they tried to enter near Hkalum Hkret after heavy clashes broke out on 20th February. The clashes saw the Burma Army exchange fire with the KIA and their allies from the Federal Union Army (FUA).
“There are 8 villages around Hpawng Seng mountain, about 700 villagers from those villages fled from their home” said Pastor Brang San who noted that the refugees had difficulty obtaining food and other supplies.
According to a KIA officer from the group's Brigade 4 in northern Shan State, clashes took place regularly last month in Mongkoe township.
“There was fighting almost every day there, residents from 7 or 8 villages were no longer safe to live there. The Burma army tried to block their opponents who were near the border close to the Salween river and then heavy clashes ensued” the pastor explained.
Last month saw extremely heavy fighting break out in northern Shan state between the Burma Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and their allies in the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA) break out in the Kokang region of northern Shan state beginning on February 9th. The Burma army used two fighter jets to attack MNDAA positions on February 21, explained Htun Myat Lynn an MNDAA spokesperson when reached for comment.
More than 30,000 residents from the Kokang region have fled into Chinese territory since the fighting began. While many other civilians fled south to government controlled areas. According to unconfirmed reports dozens of civilians have been killed during the fighting.
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