IDPs in Hsipaw Return Home

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A final group of around 50 IDPs went back to their village, glad to be returning but concerned about future fighting.

IDPs in Hsipaw Return Home
Photo by – ko sai ko sai/ IDPs in Hsipaw Return Home

All internally displaced people (IDPs) who took refuge in monasteries in Hsipaw, northern Shan State, went back to their homes on Tuesday morning, volunteers working with the community said.

The IDPs had fled clashes since late last year between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army and members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups, including the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.

The final batch of IDPs—51 people staying in Wan Ner Loi village since early March—went back to Loi Mauk village in Kon Sawt village tract in Hsipaw Township.

“All IDPs who took refuge in IDP camps in Hsipaw town returned to their village today,” a member of a volunteer committee working with IDPs told SHAN. “Clashes have been silent for two weeks. I believe this area has become peaceful and stable again,” they added.

Those who are returning to their homes are glad, but concerned about the return of fighting in the future.

IDPs in Hsipaw Return Home
Photo by – ko sai ko sai/ IDPs in Hsipaw Return Home

“I feel so happy because I can go back home again. I just pray for clashes not to happen again in our area. Then we can work on our farms peacefully,” said one IDP who went back on April 9.

There were over 3,000 IDPs in nine camps in Hsipaw who fled from their homes between January and March.

Ethnic Shan forces ordered a halt to clashes between their groups in mid-March. While fighting did not stop immediately, exchanges of fire have steadily decreased in the area.

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