Accusations of ‘Fake IDPs’ Denounced by Pastor

Residents of the unofficial Pangmati camp in Myitkyina say they have been denied the level of support received by other IDPs.

Rev. Dashi Tang Nau, a pastor of the Assemblies of God church, has spoken out against allegations that residents of an unrecognized camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myitkyina’s Pangmati Ward are “fake IDPs”.

The camp, which was established more than a year ago by IDPs who had relocated from Namti, some 40 km west of Myitkyina, has never been officially recognized. Its residents say they have been denied the support available to other IDPs in the Kachin capital.

“These IDPs moved from Hkana in Namti Township to Pangmati, and there is a person who has been calling the place where they now live a “fake IDP camp”. We have repeatedly told this person to stop. These IDPs moved from Kasung village to Namti before moving to Pangmati. The accuser was the former person in charge of this IDP camp. We have already dismissed him from our church because of his wrong actions,” Rev. Dashi Tang Nau told KNG.

Unlike residents of other IDP camps in Myitkyina, those living in Pangmati Ward are forced to live in plastic shelters and receive little assistance from the authorities or aid groups.

“We have repeatedly reported to the relevant department, but it hasn’t made any difference. Sometimes I wonder why we haven’t gotten any assistance. Is it because we are Lisu people that nobody wants to help us?” said a Pangmati camp leader, adding that they have also met with the state’s minister of social affairs, Dr. Thin Lwin.

During a visit to the camp, the minister suggested that the Pangmati IDPs send letters to township and district officials through the Pangmati Ward administrator. The ministry also built water pumps and toilets for IDPs living in the camp.

Until now, however, the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC), a major supporter of Kachin IDPs, hasn’t come to the aid of those living in the Pangmati camp. According to KHCC secretary Hka Li, all they have to do is ask for the help that they need, and they will get it.

“The KHCC was formed by Christian religious leaders from various churches. Therefore, the KHCC doesn’t provide assistance directly to IDPs. If these IDPs request assistance from their Church leaders, we are ready to help them,” Hka Li told KNG.

There are a total of 138 IDP camps located in areas under the control of the government in Kachin State, and another 18 in areas outside of government control. There are more than 20 IDP camps in Myitkyina alone.

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