Namtu Locals on Alert After Two Days of Gunfire

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Community members are afraid of clashes intensifying around the end of Buddhist Lent.

Photo by – Gradit to Owner / Mongyin, Namtu
Photo by – Gradit to Owner / Mongyin, Namtu

Residents of Mong Yin village tract in northern Shan State’s Namtu Township reported hearing gunshots in the area on Monday and Tuesday.

It is unknown which armed group or groups fired the shots, but government forces, the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), and the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups have all had movement in the township.

“We heard the sound of guns shooting at night [on Monday]. We also heard the sound of guns in the morning [on Tuesday],” Mong Yin local Sai Aik Seng told SHAN, adding that no one from his village was displaced by the fighting, but that tension was high.

With the end of Buddhist Lent on Wednesday, Sai Aik Seng said that “this is the time to do religious matters,” and that the community is afraid of clashes intensifying.

According to Mong Yin locals, the Northern Alliance and the RCSS/SSA have been competing for the control of territory in the area.

Sai Ba Nyan, a member of the IDP Helping Committee, told SHAN that no new IDPs have arrived in camps in Namtu Township. Locals from Panglong, Pang Sau and Mongmu village tracts took refuge in a monastery in Mansan village tract during clashes which broke out in Namtu in August.

The township has seen armed conflict throughout 2018, disrupting farming practices and creating worries among locals about food security for the coming year.

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