By Zarni Mann 29 October 2018
MANDALAY — Some 650 more residents of northern Shan State have fled their villages to escape fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army South (RCSS/SSAS) and the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army North (SSPP/SSAN).
Residents of Pan Pone, Kalar, Nang Har and Ei-Naing villages, about a dozen kilometers from the town of Lashio, have abandoned their homes to take refuge at a monastery and a church.
“The fighting started Saturday and the shells fell into our village, so we were afraid and had to flee,” said Pan Pone villager U Sai Aike Paung.
He said he was one of about 500 people from Pan Pone, Kalar and Nang Har taking refuge at a monastery in Nang Har.
“If the fighting continues, we will not be able to go back home. We hope the situation will be stable very soon,” he said.
Another 150 people who fled Ei-Naing are taking refuge at a church a few kilometers from the village.
“Armed men entered our village and fought each other and even dragged away some men. So we did not dare to stay at home and came to the church,” said Ma Khun Nu.
Residents of Ei-Naing said two men were taken away by the fighters on Saturday but were released that evening.
“If the fighting goes on for long, we will have a hard time getting food and water. And if the fighting gets fiercer, we will have to move to Lashio. Hopefully we can go back home safely very soon,” said Ma Khun Nu.
Last week, fighting for territory between the RCSS/SSAS, SSPP/SSAN and Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation Army broke out in northern Shan’s Namtu Township, displacing about 750 people from eight villages. All but about 200 of them have since returned home, according to Sai Ba Nyan, vice chairman of Namtu Township’s relief team for displaced people.