Villagers Flee Fighting in Pangsai Township

By KLN

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Three 25 mm mortar shells fired by Burmese government troops on Lagat Yang IDP camp
Three 25 mm mortar shells fired by Burmese government troops on Lagat Yang IDP camp

Local aid workers say fighting has continued between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese Army troops at upper Kawng Kha since Wednesday morning at around 8 am. Kawng Kha is located near Nam Tau village in Pangsai Township in northern Shan State.

Local residents who were frightened by ongoing violence have been seen fleeing in all directions, said a local aid worker. He said, “We do not yet have detail information about villagers, we are concerned about the villagers’ security and safety, and following the situation closely with KBC, Metta, WPN and UNHCR.”

Aid workers say additional displaced persons will further deteriorate the conditions, already worsened by poor living conditions and Burmese army troops threatening villagers to move out of temporary camps and go back to their own villages where frequent skirmishes have been going on for weeks.

On April 10, three 25 mm mortar shells fired by Burmese government troops fell on Lagat Yang IDP camp, located near Man Win village in Mansi Township. No casualties were reported as most IDPs had moved to Man Win Camp and those who were left in the camp narrowly escaped the mortar attack.

A KLN source says Colonel Kyaw Hsan of 88th Light Infantry Division previously threatened Lagat Yang camp officials and IDPs to move out of the temporary camp or face artillery bombardment. Burmese government troops have entered IDP camps at night and conducted surprise checks on IDP list, said the source. Colonel Kyaw Hsan reportedly asked IDPs who were forced to flee their homes leaving behind almost everything they possess to legally acquire land in Lagat Yang by either buying or requesting local government officials.

Local villagers from several villages affected by recent war have been living in at least four camps managed by Kachin Baptist Convention, Karuna Social Services, and other local NGOs.