More than two hundred have fled their homes in northern Shan State after tensions simmered between ethnic armed organizations that have clashed over the years.
Volunteers, who are helping the displaced villagers, say they sought refuge at a Buddhist monastery, fearing that fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) could erupt at any moment.
There are 236 sleeping in Manhawng monastery, Mansan village, Namtu Township. They are from the villages of Ner Kye, Ner Keng and Piang Lon. Locals donated food to the displaced villagers.
Sai Ba Nyan, who works with Namtu IDP Assistance Committee, told SHAN the civilians are concerned after the ethnic armed organizations began a standoff near their villages. Now, they wonder if they will be able to return to their farms to continue planting or if the fighting will prevent them from going home.
“Until this morning, we haven’t heard the sounds of gunfire,” Sai Ba Nyan says.
Lt-Col Sao Oum Khur, who is a spokesperson for RCSS/SSA, confirmed his troops are in a face off with TNLA, but he says no fighting has happened.
TNLA spokesperson Maj Tar Aik Kyaw told SHAN he was unaware of any tension building with RCSS/SSA.
Since signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in late 2015, the RCSS/SSA has frequently fought with the TNLA in northern Shan State, while the Burma Army refused to allow the Ta’ang group to sign until agreeing to disarm.