Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy
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Clashes in Myanmar’s Shan State Force Over 700 Villagers to Flee

Htet Wei The Irrawaddy

More than 700 villagers in Kyaukme Township in northern Shan State fled their homes late last month due to fighting between government troops and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS). The ethnic armed group allegedly burned a cache of illegal drugs to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26.

The villagers claimed Myanmar’s military shot and killed a man and injured two others. However, the army said it was unaware of any civilian casualties. The Irrawaddy witnessed more than 600 villagers taking shelter at two monasteries in Panlok and Naung Pain villages in Kyaukme last Tuesday. Some said they fled with only the clothes they were wearing.

The internally displaced people have been reliant on monks and well-wishers for food and worry about their cattle and crops in the villages.

U Maung, a corn farmer, said: “We had to leave everything behind. We cannot tend to our farms. We cannot return because of the fighting.”