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China Closes Border as Thousands Flee Kachin War

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who have already been displaced twice and some even trice, have to flee once again as battles rage in southern Kachin State and northern Shan State between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese Government troops.

Mass evacuation began as fighting continues to rage in Nawng Luk, Nawng Lum, Lahkum Pa, Nam Hka, Lagat Daw, Kyak Hpra, and Gawng Ngu Yang areas in Mansi Township.

A local official said on Thursday that about 1,000 IDPs living in Lagat Yang IDP camp, about 1,000 Shan villagers and Kachin civilians living in Ulang Pa District have fled to Man Win Gyi and the Chinese side of the border – Nam Gu and Nong Dao. Some IDPs have been relocated to Nawng Mun, a Shan village close to the China border, by KIO’s IDP and Refugee and Relief Committee (IRRC) and some have been moved to Man Win Gyi area under Burmese government control. Mungmau Baptist Association and Karuna Social Service have been helping IDPs who have fled to Man Win Gyi with bedding and foods.


Mary Tawm, coordinator of a local aid group Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) said, “I am very worried about the IDPs because some of them fled from Namlim Pa in November 2013. Those IDPs include Kachin, Palaung and Shan nationalities. IDPs had no time to take their belongings, they had to run immediately and could not even finish their dinner”. She said, “On the other side of the border, Nawng Dao, there are many Chinese soldiers watching along the border and it’s difficult for IDPs to go there too”.

Heavy fighting continues in southern Kachin State this morning and the sound of heavy artilleries can be heard from the Chinese side of the border, said an aid worker who has fled to Nong Dao. He said, “Fully armed Chinese soldiers are patrolling along the border and border crossing at Bang Hkam Gate has been suspended.”

Despite the unwelcome by Chinese authorities, more IDPs and local residents are expected to cross the border as fighting has intensified in areas close to Man Win Gyi IDP camp, Hka Hkye IDP camp and a few villages located along China-Burma border.

This article was first published in Kachinland News on 11 April 2014.


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