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Displaced Kachin Civilians Return To Village To Clean Church

Kachin villagers displaced by war returned to clean their church in Ga Ra Yang village in Waingmaw township, Kachin State. Photo: Gumjanaw Nhkum

After living in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp for almost a decade, Kachin villagers, who were displaced by fighting between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army, returned to their village to clean their church.

One of the IDPs, Brang Mai, told KNG that even though they’re no longer living in Ga Ra Yang in Kachin State they need to take care of their place of worship. “A church is very important for a village because it’s a public place. Even though we can’t clean our houses, we need to clean our church.”

Everyone felt very happy after cleaning the Baptist church in Waingmaw Township, he said. “Travelers will know this is a village when they see our church.”

This is the second time the IDPs have returned to clean the church.

Pastor Tu Nan, who is from Ga Ra Yang, said over 70 IDPs returned, explaining they wanted to show that they were still residents of the village. “We didn’t organize a visit to clean up the church, but a lot of people went back because they missed their village. We all want to go home.”

Ga Ra Yang is located near Myitkyina to Bhamo road. Fighting in the village forced them to flee their homes in 2011.

IDPs from Ga Zu village, next to Ga Ra Yang, returned last December to celebrate Christmas, even though they can’t officially move back to their homes.

The Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) planned to return IDPs to 17 villages by 2020. KHCC only succeeded in resettling 370 to a new area in Putao District, in northern Kachin State, after it was not possible to return them to their original place.

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