Displaced Kachin Return Home

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 22 August 2017

YANGON — Around 1,000 displaced persons in Mogaung Township’s Namti in Kachin State returned home on Tuesday after fleeing clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) since Aug. 11.

Displaced residents of Kasung and Zup Mai Yang villages sheltering in churches in the town of Namti returned home after negotiations led by preachers and members of local Peace-talk Creation Group (PCG), spokesperson Lamai Gum Ja told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

“Displaced persons asked us to help them return to their villages, and guarantee their safety,” he said, adding that they had communicated with Battalion No. 11 of KIA Brigade No. 2 and the Kachin State government and urged them to cease operations.

“The commander of [Mogaung Township] military operations command told us that Myanmar Army troops have withdrawn from the area … and KIA also said that they have left the villages,” he said.

The Kachin State government also said that it would arrange vehicles for displaced persons to return home, according to PCG.

Minister La Ring of Namti Baptist Church said that over 600 villagers were taking refuge at his church: “We provided food for them, and PCG arranged for them to return home,” he told The Irrawaddy.

Around 60 vehicles were arranged for displaced persons, said Lamai Gum Ja. “We’ve also loaded them with the food donated during their stay at the churches,” he said.

On August 18, KIA Battalion No. 11 released a notice stating that, due to military tension, they prohibit locals from cutting down trees, hunting, or fishing in certain areas, affecting livelihoods.

“Battalion No. 11 seriously warns that it will not take responsibility for any consequences if you enter those places,” read the notice.

Translated by Thet Ko Ko.