1,000 Flee Homes after Shan State Clashes, Say Locals

By Lawi Weng & Nang Seng Nom 14 October 2015

RANGOON — Over 1000 people from six villages have fled their homes after more than a week of clashes between the Burma Army and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), according to local aid workers.

Around 600 have arrived in Monghsutown, around 16 kilometers from the epicenter of the fighting near an SSA-N base.

“They got some food from local aid workers to eat. There are 117 people staying at a Buddhist monastery in Hai Pa quarter, while others went to stay at their relative houses,” said HlaShweThein, an independent relief volunteer from Kyethi Township.

HlaShweThein said that six villages in Monghsu Township had been abandoned.

“Some people are hiding in the jungle andothers have left their homes to stay at their paddy farms, said Sai Jan Awng, another relief volunteer. “They ran to hide when they heard the bad news about the Burma Army coming. Both sides have reinforced their troops. There is a lot of tension, but there was no fighting yesterday.”

Fighting broke out near Wan Hai village on Oct. 6 after the SSA-N refused a Burma Army order to withdraw their troops from the area. The ethnic armed group’s Wan Hai base was earlier shelled by the military in August.

Relief workers have expressed concerns about the health of those who fled their homes.

“It has rained a lot here,” said Nang Sai Hein from Shan Literature and Culture in Mong Hsu. “They did not have enough clothes to change into when they got wet from the rain, or clothes for the cold weather. Many of them are elderly or children. They do not even have pots to cook food.”