Thousands in Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina joined a rally on Monday demanding safe passage for displaced civilians trapped amid clashes between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The military has announced in Kachin State’s Tanai town that civilians who abandoned their homes to avoid clashes between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army must return, saying KIA forces had retreated from the affected villages in Tanai Township.
Burmese authorities on Friday visited a suspected shallow grave in the country’s north that residents said contained the bodies of two ethnic minority men who were detained by soldiers in January, a police officer and a community leader said.
As attention increasingly focuses on the tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims amassing at already overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, thousands have also been displaced within Arakan State and more than 300 teachers in the conflict zone are “stranded” and in need of air-lifted evacuation.
With thousands of miners and their families in recent days having fled gold and amber mines in villages across Tanai Township to Tanai town, in northern Kachin State, the military has told leaders at the camps for the internally displaced that the temporary settlements should be moved elsewhere.
During a brief trip to conflict-wracked Kachin State on Tuesday, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visited displacement camps and, in a lighter moment, posed for photos with a pair of nonagenarians who similarly smiled for the camera with Suu Kyi’s father more than a half-century ago.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has acknowledged, albeit somewhat obliquely, the deteriorating security environment in Kachin State, with the office of Burma’s de facto leader donating 300 million kyats ($222,000) to those displaced by conflict.
A recent offensive by the Burmese military in Kachin State, seizing the Kachin Independence Army’s Gidon mountain outpost, has exacerbated the dire conditions for displaced people living in the area as northern Burma enters its coldest stretch of the year.