Over 300 villagers displaced by several days of fighting in northern Shan State have fled to a Buddhist monastery in Hsipaw Township with nothing and are now in urgent need of clothes and blankets to keep warm, as well as food and medicine.
”Among the displaced who have found refuge in Baw Kyo are many women and children,” a man who requested anonymity told SHAN. He said they had fled from villages along the Kyaukme border, where rival Shan armed groups are fighting.
The violence between the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) had trapped some people in their villages, he said. ”We cannot pick them up because all the roads are blocked. Some people have already left their village but have not arrived at the monastery.” More than 30 people arrived on Monday, with the rest fleeing the fighting that has flared up again and again in proceeding days.
”We do not want war, offensives or shooting. They should think of the people who have to return to their villages,” said Ven Kaymithara, a Buddhist monk and member of the Shan State Monk and People’s Peace Cooperation Committee.
SHAN reached out to RCSS and SSPP spokespersons for comment, but no one responded. Last year, the Shan armies fought many times in Hsipaw Township and other areas of the state, affecting thousands of villagers, many of whom are still unable to return home. Villages affected by recent fighting are Kyinthi, Pon Hpan, Yay Pu, Lau Khon, Thee San and Chaung Sone in Kyinthi village tract. In Chaung Sone, shelling has destroyed about six houses.