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Up to 4,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled from a displacement camp in Najan, Kachin State, due to intense clashes between Burmese government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the area.
According to the Joint Strategy Team (JST) for Humanitarian Response in Kachin and Northern Shan State, many of the IDPs yesterday attempted to flee across the Chinese border to seek sanctuary but were turned back by the Chinese authorities.
“The area known as Najan is not far from Lai Hpawng, where a KIA outpost is located,” JST’s general secretary Gum Sha Awng told DVB. “On Tuesday, fierce fighting broke out in the area, compelling the people at the IDP camp to flee on foot overnight towards the border. There were around 4,000 refugees in total, including those evacuated from Zai Awng and Hkawng Shawng.
“The IDPs who went to the border were questioned by Chinese military and police officials on Wednesday morning, then subsequently booted back to Burma.”
More than 2,600 of those estimated 4,000 IDPs were from Zai Awng displacement camp in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township. They were forced out of the camp by artillery shelling.
Gum Sha Awng said that many of the IDPs, including children and the elderly, had been walking the whole day. Most have now taken shelter in makeshift tents alongside the Daback creek under pouring rain and in urgent need of relief supplies, he said.