Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) soldiers have shouted at and threatened villagers after they asked them to leave their camp for displaced people in Burma’s restive northern Shan State.
Since early in the year, about 300 armed MNDAA soldiers have stayed at the Zup Awng internally displaced persons (IDPs), which is located outside of Kutkai town. Villagers don’t feel safe with the soldiers, who are fighting with regime forces and staying with them. Last Saturday, camp leaders asked them to leave.
A man, asking his name not be mentioned, told KNG the soldiers were staying in the church and school. ”When camp leaders told them no armed groups are allowed to live in the IDP camp, the military leaders shouted at them, showed their guns and pounded on the table.”
In the past, the MNDA frequently came to the camp, which is the largest in the area, he said. This time, they have stayed for four months, and they have to suspend church services, the children can’t go to school and they are taking people’s motorbikes to use when they want. Soldiers are also sexually harassing the girls living in the camp and parents are worried about their daughters.
The camp is also facing drought during the dry season, and the soldiers are wasting the water.
Another anonymous source told KNG that the MNDAA seems to be using the IDPs as human shields to protect themselves. ”The armed groups should respect the military code of conduct regarding IDPs and avoid (staying in) civilian areas.”
IDPs are concerned that the Burma Army could attack their camp because the Kokang soldiers are there. More MNDAA troops are deployed at rotational farms around Zup Awng.
The camp is home to 1,000 villagers, and it was established in 2011.