Internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled recent fighting between the Burma Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) in Kyaukme Township, northern Shan State, began returning to their homes this week.
Nang Ei Mon Aung, the National League for Democracy’s electoral candidate for Kyaukme’s Constituency 1, said that more than 2,000 IDPs went back home on October 18 after clashes appeared to have stopped.
“I think nearly 300 IDPs remain in camps. I think that the Burma Army is still deployed in some villages. In some places, the Burma Army already retreated,” she told SHAN, adding that government troops were still present in the community of Nawng Sim.
IDPs who returned home are from Pong Woe, Koon Hen, Tawng Htig, Kawng Lang and Nawng Kwang villages.
“Currently, IDPs remain in three monasteries. They cannot return to their village because the Burma Army is still in their village,” Nang Ei Mon Aung said.
Local authorities were scheduled to observe the situation on the ground on Monday.
Nang Ei Mon Aung added that villagers were concerned whether landmines had been planted in the area.
As villagers return to their homes, they have found that their property was stolen by Burmese soldiers.
“Almost all of the houses in Nam Mahin village were looted,” Nang Hla, who lives in the village, told SHAN. “They slaughtered buffalos and chickens. They looted houses and stole clothing and food.”
The Burma Army and RCSS fought multiple times in Kyaukme Township between October 2 and 11, with artillery shells hitting some villages and injuring civilians.
According to local civil society estimates, more than 3,500 people were displaced by the clashes.