Fighting in southern Shan State has affected hundreds of villagers who had to flee their homes during the planting season.
“Over 420 people have arrived in Kehsi today,” explained a man from Mong Kaow village, bringing the total of civilians now affected by violence between rival Shan ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) to over 700.
After rumours spread the armed groups would use them as porters, civilians from Mong Kaow village fled to Kehsi, located about 15 miles away, last Friday, June 4. In the village tract with the same name, Mak Wow, Warn Lak, Ho Ner, Ho Pai, Pai Mong and Ner Hio villages are affected by fighting.
Clashes between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) began at the beginning of June on Loi Huan mountain between Kehsi and Mong Nawng towns.
A monk told SHAN new fighting is forcing more civilians from their homes. “There are already four Buddhist monasteries full with IDPs,” he said, explaining how depressing it is to watch the two Shan forces fighting each other.
EAOs are ignoring pleas from religious and community leaders in Kehsi Townships for the violence to stop, which is diverting attention away from getting rid of the military dictatorship, now in its four month.