More than a thousand civilians were affected by violence between rival Shan armed groups in Mong Kung Township in southern Shan State.
Villagers from Nam Onn in Ho Khai village tract fled to a Buddhist monastery in Nawng Liao, after fighting erupted between Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) on Tuesday morning, 14 September.
When asked by SHAN, RCSS spokesperson Maj Kham San confirmed the fighting but couldn’t comment further.
The groups have been quarreling over territory for several years, but fighting in Shan State has intensified since June.
The conflict has severely affected the livelihoods of villagers who depend on agriculture as their main source of income, forcing them to flee the clashes numerous times or displacing them for months in some cases. Now that there are many COVID-19 cases in the state, their lives are further endangered by the pathogen spreading in the overcrowded internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps.
”We need medical care in the camp,” said an IDP from Nam Onn, who fled to Nawng Liao. She told SHAN that they can hear rifle fire from the monastery where they’re staying.
A man from the village who’s helping them said that most are women, children and the elderly and that they need emergency food, medicine and plastic sheets to protect them from the elements. He said that a large number of the women are pregnant.
Efforts by the Shan community to get the Shan armies to engage in dialogue to end the conflict in Shan State and fight the real enemy – the military dictatorship- have been ignored.