Villagers living in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp are again forced to flee rival Shan armed groups after fighting edged closer to them in Mong Kung Township in southern Shan State on Sunday (19 September).
“We heard light and heavy weapons firing near our camp (located in a Buddhist monastery). We have to flee the clashes again, but this time we don’t know where to go,” a male IDP told SHAN.
The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) clashed near the IDP camp in Nawng Laio village at around 12:30pm.
More than 2,000 IDPs fled fighting between Shan forces that began on 14 September in the Ho Khe village tract.
“We’re still on the road. We’ll return to the camp if the sounds of heavy weapons stops because we’ve nowhere else to live,” he explained.
A volunteer helping IDPs in Nawng Laio wasn’t sure who was affected by the recent violence, as people quickly fled as soon as they heard the sounds of weapons fired.
A spokesperson for the RCSS said his group has been fighting with the SSPP in the village tract for four days. SHAN has tried several times to reach the SSPP spokesperson for comment.
An IDP who is from Nam Onn village told SHAN the IDPs in Nawng Shaw need food, medicine and plastic sheets to protect themselves from the rain. “Some people live on the upper floors of a Buddhist monastery, others on the ground floor. Others sleep in the back of a lorry on a plastic sheet and still others have relatives (in the village) where they stay.”
The IDPs have fled from the villages Wan Kert, Wan Kawng, Wan Loung, Wan Mai, Nawng Nan, Wan Kong Hser, Nam Maw Oot, Loi Moum and Nam Onn in Ho Kai village tract.
Fighting between rival armed groups in Shan State has been fierce since early June, despite religious leaders and the community imploring for the violence to end for the good of all.