KSCC Wants International Community To Provide ‘Safe Zone’ For Karenni IDPs

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Karenni people need protection during the conflict between the regime and resistance groups following airstrikes on civilians, said Aung San Myint, spokesperson for the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC), which was formed last April by lawmakers, political parties, civil and ethnic armed organisations.

“We need to value the lives of all people and therefore demand that the international community and national actors create a safe zone for the people of Karenni State,” he told Kantarawaddy Times.

On Monday, junta fighter jets killed two girls aged 12 and 15 and a 52-year-old man in an internally displaced camp in Hpruso Township.

According to the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), a civilian armed group fighting the regime, the military bombed Nam Maekhong on 16 January, killing three young men who were trying to help the many people in Demawso Township who had sought refuge. A week earlier, an elderly woman died from a stroke when the army shelled the town. The artillery shells hit near a camp for internally displaced persons.

A woman thought she was safe in the camp but now she’s worried for her safety. She said everyone still needs emergency aid.

Fighting has been recurring in Demawso town since May, causing many people to flee the area. Now that the junta has started attacking their camps, they have nowhere left to run in the state.

Maw Day Myar of the Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN) said many of them have sought refuge in southern Shan State.

Since last week, the Pa-O National Liberation Party (PNLO) has assisted more than 120 people from more than 40 families who left Karenni State. A PNLO officer told Kantarawaddy Times that the health organisation has been distributing basic food items to the new arrivals. The ethnic armed organisation plan to provide further assistance to those staying in the areas they control in Hsihseng Township.

More than 170,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began, more than half of the 300,000 inhabitants of Burma’s smallest state. In the capital Loikaw, about two-thirds of the 51,000 residents have fled junta airstrikes and artillery attacks this month. KCSN reports that the regime has killed 182 people since it overthrew the civilian government almost a year ago.

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