Civilians displaced by the conflict in Burma’s Kachin State, who are eager to go home, are being blocked by the Burma Army despite receiving the green light from the government to return to their village.
N’dawng Tang Gun, a pastor at the Robert Baptist Church internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in the town of Bhamo, informed KNG that camp residents have been trying to return to Nam Lim Pa village since 2017 but the Tatmadaw won’t allow it.
“We sent a petition letter to the township, district and state authorities and the administration allowed us to return home.” He said the general administration officer (GAD) negotiated with the battalion stationed in the area for their return. But after the battalion changed hands, the new one retracted on the decision that would have allowed the IDPs to go back to their village.
Villagers from Nam Lin Pa fled from fighting between Tatmadaw and Kachin Independence Army in 2011. The same year the conflict began. Before the exodus, the village had over 300 dwellings.
“In Burma, it is like we have two governments. Despite pledges from the government to allow our return, the Army is stopping us.”
Oddly, N’dawng Tang Gun said that IDPs from Mung Ding Pa village, located near his village, have been allowed home. After so many years of living in the IDP camp, he wondered why they couldn’t go back even though the NLD government supposedly started the resettlement program.
The Mansi Township GAD officer said that the appropriate IDP resettlement committee will investigate and report back to the township, district, and state officials.
After 64 families asked to return home, Zaw Zaw, director of the Kachin State government, offered to bring up the matter with the minister of security and border affairs for Kachin State. He told KNG the minister can discuss the issue directly with the Northern Military Command.
China provided the government with 4 million yuan ($585K) for the resettlement of Kachin IDPs.