IDP Needs Grow as Clashes Continue in Northern Shan State

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fighting is ongoing in Kutkai and Kyaukme townships in northern Shan State, with locals seeking refuge in makeshift internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps and in increasing need of emergency aid.

According to local volunteer groups, IDPs in Kutkai are in need of food, but roads remain blocked and military tension is high. Since August 15, the Burma Army and joint forces belonging to the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have had multiple clashes in the area.

“We have arrived Mang Tein village, 38 miles from Kutkai. There are nearly 200 IDPs there. We delivered assistance to those IDPs, sponsored by the Mandalay Hindu Social Welfare team,” Ko Myo, who is working for Social Volunteer Team in Hsipaw, told NMG. “Clashes are occurring near the village at the moment. These IDPs need food and clothes.”

Ko Myo added that IDPs in a neighboring camp in the Shwe Gaba Aye monastery in Kutkai were still in need of assistance but that volunteer teams couldn’t reach it.

“The abbot told us that the people fled from Nam Hu Dae village,” Ko Myo added.

Clashes are ongoing near Loi Sam Sip, Nam Perchi, and Nam Hu Dae villages in Kutkai Township. In Kyaukme, the fighting is happening in Tawt Sam village tract. The locations were confirmed by the TNLA.

“Joint forces between us and the Burma Army had six to seven clashes [in Kutkai and Kyaukme on Monday],” the TNLA’s Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG, adding that fighting had also been happening in Rakhine State. “There have been nearly 40 clashes in three days,” he said on Tuesday.

Fighting has intensified particularly along the Mandalay-Muse national highway in northern Shan State, since the joint forces of the AA, MNDAA and TNLA launched five coordinated attacks on August 15 on locations in Pyin Oo Lwin and Naung Khio, including army camps, police guards, tollgates, and the Defense Services Technological Academy.

The subsequent fighting in northern Shan State has made thousands of IDPs staying in multiple monasteries in Lashio Townsihp: more than 1,000 people in Mangsu, 700 in Tar Yao, 500 in Mong Tein, 400 in Matchinu, and 100 in Pang Ner.

In Kutkai, more than 1,500 people are believed to be staying with relatives and around 400 are staying in two monasteries.

Volunteer workers said that some 300 people have sought refuge in a school of a Roman Catholic church in Nam Salap village in Hsenwi Township.

“Now people can travel between Lashio and Theinni (Hsenwi). We cannot go past Mang Tein village. We can not go to Namphetka. We can not go to Nam Hu Dae,” Ko Myo said, adding that these people were also in need of food and clothes.

“We have to share food. We have got some assistance from CSOs (civil society organizations). It’s still impossible to travel in the area. Clashes are ongoing,” a youth who lives in Lashio told NMG.

Local civil society organizations in Lashio, Hsipaw and Hsenwi are providing food rations to the new IDPs.