Over 500 IDPs Flee Latest Shan State Hostilities

By Lawi Weng 11 March 2016

RANGOON — Hundreds displaced by fighting in northern Shan State arrived this week to Nam Pa Kar village in Kutkai Township amid ongoing regional hostilities between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Burma Army, according to a Lashio-based group providing food supplies to the affected.

The internally displaced persons (IDPs) are ethnic Palaung from Ngegge village, also in Kutkai Township, where fighting that began Tuesday forced them to flee their homes.

“They fled on March 8 from their village, and arrived in Kutkai yesterday,” De De Poe Jaing, joint general secretary No. 2 of the Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO), said on Thursday, estimating that more than 500 people had fled to Nam Pa Kar, where they are sheltering at an events hall.

“There have been some local charitable groups, including our organization, providing them food. They will be able to have food for some days, but this [adequate food provision] may become a problem if they have to stay a long time,” said De De Poe Jaing.

Another civil society group, the Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO), has sent some of its members to Mong Yu village, where some civilians are believed to have been pinned down by recent hostilities.

“We do not know yet how many villagers we’re hosting in the village. Some of our people went to help them today to bring out those [Mong Yu] villagers from the conflict-affected village,” De De Poe Jaing said.

The TNLA has said thousands of Burma Army troops have been deployed to the conflict zone, a territory that spans several townships in northern Shan State including Kyaukme, Kutkai, Namtu, Manton, Namhsan and Mongmit.

Intense fighting continued on Thursday in Kyaukme and Mangton townships, where the TNLA claimed a government offensive included two helicopter gunships in the village of Kyauk Phyu, part of Kyaukme Township.

Locals from the villages of Kyauk Phyu and Pan Loi have also been displaced in recent days, with those affected taking refuge in Kyaukme town.