Shan ethnic armed organisations fought for two days in a row in southern Shan State, causing the displacement of hundreds of civilians at a time when the planting season is underway.
Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) spokesperson Maj Kham San blamed the violence on Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), which he said encroached on their territory. Maj Sai Phone Han, the SSPP spokesperson, told SHAN that fighting on Loi Hon mountain between Kehsi and Mong Nawng towns is located in its controlled territories.
At least 200 villagers have been forced from their homes by the conflict that started near Hopon village at the beginning of June. A villager displaced by the fighting told SHAN they heard gunfire at 7am last Monday, May 31 . “We were in shock and we quickly fled.” Most of the people are women, elderly and children, the source said. Among them are two mothers who recently gave birth. Residents from Mertwong, Nerhio and Wan Latt are staying in a Buddhist monastery located in Nawng Suam. Another person affected by the violence said the men have also fled because they are afraid the EAOs will force them to work as porters.
A person from the town of Kehsi hopes the Shan EAOs can work out their territorial dispute without engaging in violence. When the conflict started, many had to leave their villages with only the clothes on their back, the source said.
The EAOs have ignored pleas from prominent Shan monks and youths who want the conflict to end. Fighting has caused enormous suffering for civilians as well as the destruction of properties in northern Shan State where the EAOs have also been engaged in clashes.
People are fighting against the military regime, and they want the EAOs to help, a source told SHAN. “How can we depend on them when they’re fighting each other?”