Hundreds of civilians who fled fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) have returned to their homes despite threats of further violence in southern Shan State.
“If they don’t work on their farms, what will they eat in the upcoming year?” said one volunteer, but they’re terrified of fighting will flare up again or they’ll step on concealed landmines left behind by the rival armed groups, he explained.
Over 500 civilians who had taken shelter in Haw Kham, Kyaung Kham and Salaikhom Buddhist monasteries in Laikha town in Loilem District returned to their homes to start sowing on 9 May.
He said over 20 children, women and senior citizens remained at Wahso Monastery. “The men have returned to their village to monitor the situation there and if it’s safe, the others will return home in the coming days.”
Thousands of people have been uprooted by the violence that began in the township on 11 April. The armed groups have stopped fighting for the time being, but their soldiers remain in the area, so there could be renewed clashes.