01/11/2019, 15.53
MYANMAR
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Thousands of civilians flee fighting between ethnic militias in Shan State

Over 2,000 people have fled Namtu and Hsipaw, two townships in northern Shan state. Refugees found shelter in nine temporary refugee camps in Hsipaw and two in Namtu. Armed men abducted ten villagers from Kyan Kyar Kyaing.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of civilians have fled their homes in Shan State, eastern Myanmar, as a result of forced recruitment and intense fighting between armed ethnic groups.

In the past few days, more than 2,000 people have left their homes in Namtu and Hsipaw, two townships in the northern part of the state, as fighting intensified between the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and its ally Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) against the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS).

“Over 500 people arrived at our camp while in the whole township, there are over 1,400. They are being accommodated at nine locations,” said U Tin Sein, head of Nar of the Ma Khaw camp for internally displaced people.

Refugees have been allowed to take shelter in nine temporary refugee camps in Hsipaw and two camps in Namtu.

“They started arriving on January 1,” said Sai Yanpyay, a member of the Se Lain Khan Social Welfare Association.

“When they heard the sound of heavy weapons, they fled. Their meals are being provided by villagers and donors,” he explained.

At present, “There are over 400 refugees in the Man San North Monastery. Over 50 people from Manwa are staying at Namtu Popa Yone Monastery. Some are staying at their relatives’ houses,” he added.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people from the village of Kyan Kyar Kyaing have found refuge in Ho Li (Kunlong Township). The villagers said armed men took their village head and ten others, but one of them was able to escape, U Maung Sein said.

“They arrived at around 9 am on January 6. They said they fled from their village as an armed group came and asked able-bodied men to join them. The armed mean spoke in the Kokang language but their uniforms had no insignia,” he noted.

The village of Kyan Kyar Kyaing is located near the territory claimed by the MNDAA, a communist-inspired armed group comprised of ethnic Kokang. The group is involved in drug production and trafficking.

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