Conflict Prevents Karenni Farmers From Planting Paddy

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By Kay Du/Kantarawaddy Times

Villagers forced to flee the conflict in eastern Demoso Township worry they won’t be able to plant their crops because of the ongoing attacks.

“It is still uncertain whether we can grow paddy this year. The planting season starts this month, but we are worried about our safety because the Burma army is attacking civilian villages and IDP (internally displaced person) camps with artillery and airstrikes every day,” one farmer told Kantarawaddy Times on condition of anonymity.

The army frequently attacks civilian targets in the state, making people afraid to gather in one place. Farmers are concerned that they will not hear artillery fire or a plane flying overhead as they drive their tractor in their paddy field.

One male IDP who has been displaced for almost two years said it is risky to work on his farm. Although he is afraid to travel there, he asked, “if we do not work on our farm, what will we eat?

“If shell lands in our farm when we are working, we will have to flee. It really depends on our luck.”

Late last month, several farmers were injured by artillery fired by the regime while working in their rice fields.

In March, over 50,000 villagers fled regime offensives in eastern Demoso Township. For some, it was the first time they left their villages since the conflict started nearly two years ago.

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