More than 200 villagers fled their homes after fighting broke out between the Burma Army and forces belonging to the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups in northern Shan State’s Muse District on Friday.
The internally displaced persons (IDPs) are from Man Kawng village in Kyukok—also known as Pang Seng—sub-district. They said that they left because they were afraid of artillery shells hitting their 47-household village.
“People began to flee on Friday morning. More than 200 people have sought refuge in Man Pying Church. Some people are staying in their relatives’ homes,” a volunteer helping the IDPs told KNG.
The headman of Man Kawng said that the IDPs were in need of emergency food aid and medicine. At the time of reporting, they were still unable return to their homes.
Col Nhpang Naw Bu, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said that combined forces from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Divisions (LIDs) 88 and 99 attacked KIA troops on Kai Dwi Kawng hill on Friday at around 2:00 p.m. The hill is where the KIA’s Battalion 36, under Brigade 6, had been based.
Burmese military columns subsequently fought for two hours at Kai Dwi Kawng hill with combined forces of from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA), both of which are KIA allies.
The government forces then fought with the KIA’s Battalion 36 near Ting Sa Kawng hill for around 20 minutes, according to the KIA spokesperson.
“The military column from LID 88 has continued its movements in the area. Before this clash, the Burma Army and the KIA’s Battalion 9 had clashes in Muse Township,” Col Nhpang Naw Bu told KNG.
KNG reported that this fighting occurred on September 4 when LID 88 attacked a KIA camp, according to a KIA officer who spoke to KNG on the condition of anonymity. The source said that LID 88 had been deployed in Muse and Namkham townships, and LID 99 had been deployed in Muse and Hpawng Seng.
“I think they want to destroy peace,” Col Nhpang Naw Bu said, referring to the Burmese military. “They resumed their military movements because the general election is coming,” he added.
The AA, KIA, MNDAA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army are members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups.