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More than 1,000 villagers, who fled their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire of armed conflict between Burmese government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), are running out of food in their temporary shelters, and are in urgent need of assistance, according to local relief workers in Kachin State.
Lama Raw, an information officer with the Kachin Baptist Church, which is providing relief supplies to the displaced villagers, said they had been unable to reach a group hiding in the jungle about 16 kilometres outside Sumprabum town due to transportation problems.
“Previously, we provided them with two tin cans of rice per person, which was expected to run out in one week. As they are hiding deep in the jungle, they cannot buy food even if they have money. The Burmese army is blocking food items such as rice, oil, and salt from reaching the area,” said Lama Raw.
“The area is still accessible by travelling upstream of the Mali River for about two days. But the government has said they will not guarantee our safety via that route”.
Ceasefire talks involving the KIA have stalled, with the government insisting any ethnic groups engaged in hostilities with government forces cannot be included in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. However, the alliance of ethnic groups Senior Delegation (SD) insists no group is left out of the agreement. The KIA, however, is not one of the ethnic militias excluded from the government’s peace plan.
Read more on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement here