DVB Multimedia Group

Shelling of village sends hundreds more fleeing in Kachin

Hundreds of civilians have fled Kasung village for the town of Namti in Kachin State.

Clashes between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) around a village in Mogaung Township, Kachin State, have sent more than 800 people fleeing to the nearby town of Namti, in the latest bout of fighting to affect the region.

The village in question, Kasung, is located about 13 miles from Namti town.

Dr. Samson Khalam, the general-secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), told DVB that local villagers from Kasung fled to Namti town as their village was hit with artillery fire.

“We have accommodated 770 locals from Kasung village at three different sites in Namti including the Catholic Church and KBC church. A batch of [an additional] 178 displaced people arrived to Namti yesterday. They fled their homes in fear of shelling and airstrikes,” said Khalam.

The latest displacement comes as part of a broader intensification of hostilities between government troops and the KIA.

In neighbouring Tanai Township, north of Mogaung, an estimated 2,000 civilians fled their homes earlier this month after clashes between the two sides flared sporadically from 11 April.

In recent days a team led by the administrator of Tanai rescued more than 200 people who were trapped in the township’s Awng Lawt village.

“Those who were rescued are not originally from Awng Lawt village. They are migrant workers residing in the village. In total, there were 225 workers rescued,” said Lin Lin Oo, a lower house MP representing Tanai Township.

“The rescue operation was initiated by local authorities with the assistance of the Red Cross Society at the township and state levels. We, parliamentarians and local representatives led by the township administrator went to Aung Soe Moe village in Tanai for further assistance.”

Lin Lin Oo added that the migrant workers who had arrived to Aung Soe Moe village were scrutinised by the military yesterday and were to be sent back to their places of origin today.

Last week the military announced over loudspeaker in Tanai town that civilians who fled their villages to avoid fighting needed to return home, saying KIA forces had retreated from the affected areas in Tanai Township.