In September, troops from State Administration Council (SAC) and the Pa-O National Organisation (PNO) forced displaced civilians to demolish their school and a prayer hall in their camp in Taunggyi, situated in southern Shan State.
“The reason they did this is that they do not like people gathering in one place. They do not allow us to teach children or hold a prayer service in our camp, and our children cannot study in school,” a female resident told SHAN.
About 5,000 villagers from Loikaw, Paikhun (aka Pekon), and Mong Pai (aka Mobye) have fled from the fighting to the camp that was established in the Shan State capital one year ago. Most of them are Christians.
In July, SAC posted warnings in the camp, prohibiting the construction of new buildings. They stated that the residents were living on government-owned land without permission and therefore must relocate.
“Where should we go? Where should we live? We cannot return to our home. We do not have regular jobs or income. I cannot afford to rent a house here,” the woman said.
With fighting continuing between resistance groups and SAC around Paikhun and Mong Pai and in neighboring Karenni State, it is impossible or extremely dangerous for the people to return to their villages.