Schools Shut, Families Flee Amid Namhsan Clashes

By Zarni Mann 17 January 2017

MANDALAY — Some one hundred people fled ongoing battles between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Burma Army in northern Shan State’s Namhsan Township, arriving in Mandalay on Sunday over concerns for their children’s education.

A high school and a middle school in Namhsan town and three primary schools in nearby villages have shut due to the instability and lack of students, Namhsan Constituency (2) lawmaker Daw Khin Myint Swe told The Irrawaddy.

“We are afraid that our children’s education will be stalled,” said Daw Nan Hla Yee, a Namhsan local taking refuge at Za Yan Kyaung of Myin Wun Min Gyi Monastery in Chanmyathazi Township, Mandalay. “Their end of year exam is on Feb. 13, but we had to run away from our home.”

Among the displaced persons was a primary school teacher from Namhsan named Daw Myint Myint Khaing who said that students had stopped coming to school as they left the area to seek refuge with their families.

“We still don’t know how authorities will take care of the children who have run away from the area,” she said.

Clashes between the TNLA and the Burma Army broke out in Namhsan on Jan. 10 and so far two civilians have been reported killed and 12 injured.

According to locals, many displaced persons have sought refuge in Kyaukme, Hsipaw and Pyin Oo Lwin townships, as well as the city of Mandalay, where there are currently 94 refugees in Myin Wun Min Gyi Monastery.