Ongoing hostilities between Burmese government forces and ethnic armed groups in northern Shan State’s Mantong Township have compelled some 1,300 civilians to flee their homes since the beginning of January, according to a local aid worker.
A makeshift camp in Namtu Township.
Sai Ba Nyan, the head of humanitarian aid assistance in nearby Namtu Township, said that many of those villagers from Mantong had sought shelter in Namtu where local authorities had erected six camps for displaced persons.
“We have about 1,300 displaced villagers sheltering in the town of Namtu,” he said. “We are hosting them at the temples and churches. Civil society groups have banded together to collect donations to help them. In the short term, we have enough, but if they are forced to stay here longer there will be a problem with food supplies.
He added: “We plan to relocate these families to Kyo Saw by the end of this month. There is enough space in that village and we have built makeshift shelters for them. Staying in temple compounds is inconvenient, and we are concerned about the villagers’ health.”
According to an updated report from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army’s News and Information Department, clashes between Ta’ang rebels and the Burmese army have broken out recently in the townships of Namsan, Namtu, Mantong, Kyaukme and Kutkhai.
On December 16, 2016, Shan Herald reported that hundreds of civilians from Kyaukme Township had been displaced due to a forced recruitment drive by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
Fighting in northern Shan State has intensified since the newly proclaimed Northern Alliance – comprising the TNLA, Arakan Army (AA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – launched joint operations against Burmese military positions on November 20 last year.
Clashes have continued across northern Shan State, forcing thousands more civilians from their homes, many of whom have since returned to their villages, while others remain scattered across the region or in Chinese border towns.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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2016 Shan Herald Agency for News