Fighting forced many civilians to flee their homes in Mong Kung Township during the conflict between competing Shan armed groups in Burma’s southern Shan State.
According to a local source, more than 1,500 people who have taken temporary shelter in Mong Kung town, just 6 miles from the site of the conflict, are in need of food and medicine. Most are housed in the various Buddhist monasteries, while others who have relatives in the town are with them.
One internally displaced person who spoke to SHAN said he did not know who was fighting, but was concerned that he needed to finish harvesting his rice and maize.
In its New Year’s Day statement, the Committee for Shan State Unity Committee (CSSU) called on all stakeholders to find a solution to end the violence between the ethnic armed groups in Shan State and then work together to build a federal democratic union for Burma.
According to CSSU general secretary Sai Lek, the main goal is to build unity between the Shan, other groups in the state and the rest of the country.”All stakeholders must participate in the discussions on the Shan State Constitution. We expect that the war and violence plaguing Shan State will stop if we find a political solution through dialogue,” he told SHAN.
”We will not be able to build trust if the conflict between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) does not stop.”
RCSS and SSPP have been fighting each other in Mong Kung since September, resulting in massive displacement of civilians. The groups are also at hammerheads in northern Shan State.
Sai Lek said that the first draft of the constitution was approved on 28 December, but still needs to be reviewed by the rest of the committee members.
Before the conflict began, the CSSU was formed in 2013 by RCSS, SSPP, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and Sein Kyawt People’s Militia Force. Five other parties and civil groups later joined.