Thousands displaced by conflict in Kyaukme Township are almost out of food following months of fighting between rival ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) in northern Shan State.
“There are few donors providing food to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kyaukme Township,” explained Loung Lian Harn, chair of Shan Literature and Culture Association in the township. He’s been trying to help some of them living in displaced camps in Mang Hkar, Mong Ting, Nam Sawt, Ner Moong, Pying Hkar, Hu Suan, Kyu Shaw and Mong Ngor.
Currently, IDPs from Pang Salawt who’re staying in Pobbayon Buddhist Monastery in Nawng Peing require emergency assistance. About 1,700 villagers uprooted by the violence are staying with their relatives in Kyaukme town.
Clashes between the Restoration Council of Shan State and the allied Shan State Progress Party and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have prevented civilians from returning safely to their homes. Over the past seven months, the EAOs have squabbled over territory, despite the community’s call for the groups to reconcile and focus on overthrowing the regime.
In Kyaukme town, Burma Army (BA) soldiers in civilian clothes arrested 20 youths after bomb attacks on 20 September destroyed two Mytel communication towers in Tawng and Kywel Kong villages, which belong to the military.
On Monday evening, BA soldiers shot at anyone on the street.
“Last night I heard 8 gunshots,” a local source told SHAN. After the blast, BA set up many checkpoints to interrogate passers-by, especially youths, he said. Worried that the resistance group People’s Defence Force was setting up shop in Kyaukme, the military targeted the youths, the man said.
One woman said she was afraid to leave her house in the evening. ”Before, there weren’t many checkpoints and we could go out at night. Now they check everyone on the street. We worry about our safety if we need to leave the house because of an emergency.” Besides, not many people are working during the pandemic and it’s really hard to survive, she said.