By Kantarawaddy Times
Japan’s special envoy for ‘National Reconciliation in Myanmar’ won’t provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others in Karenni State, despite meeting with representatives of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) in northern Thailand last week to discuss the matter.
“They had an agreement with the military junta. The Nippon Foundation cannot provide humanitarian aid without the regime’s permission. The KNPP has opposed the dictatorship and the clashes in Karenni State have escalated,” said KNPP second secretary Aung San Myint. If Japan wants to send aid across the border, they need Thailand’s permission, he explained, which is why they don’t expect much. Still, “they said at the meeting that they’d try to find a way to help us”.
Aung San Myint said when they met Mr Sasakawa in Chaing Mai on 10 March, they were aware that Japan wouldn’t be able to help, but they went anyway to maintain good relations with the special envoy.
The regime told the Nippon Foundation that it can provide humanitarian assistance to all signatories of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), except for the Karen National Union and the Chin National Front, with whom it’s fighting in their respective regions. The KNPP hasn’t signed the NCA and its armed wing, the Karenni Army (KA), is fighting the Burma Army (BA) in Karenni and Shan States, supported by various civilian resistance groups.
Meanwhile, the BA has continued to carry out airstrikes on resistance groups and anyone else during weeks of violence in Demawso Township, Karenni State. Many elderly people, women and children have fled fighter jets and artillery attacks from areas where there’s no fighting between the regime and resistance groups, said a volunteer helping them, on condition of anonymity. Some have sought refuge in the jungle, while others have fled to neighbouring Shan State.
A man who fled his village in eastern Demawso Township after it was shelled said: “Every day the fighting escalates in Karenni State. I don’t know if I can return to my home. Now I’m staying in an IDP camp, but the BA’s fighter jets are also attacking these too, forcing us to move from place to place. I don’t know when I’ll have to flee again.”
After capturing Mobye in neighbouring southern Shan State from resistance groups in mid-February in a massive offensive involving air strikes and ground assaults with tanks and armoured vehicles, the BA moved into the Nam Maekhong area of Demawso Township to seize more territory from the rebel groups and terrorise the population. A few days ago, junta forces entered Nawng Pale village, about 12 miles from Mobye. About 10,000 internally displaced people who’ve taken refuge in eastern and western Demawso Township have again fled from BA soldiers. The regime also continues to carry out attacks around Mobye in Pekon Township and Loikaw Township in Karenni State.
IDPs and residents are on the verge of starvation after the regime prevented relief supplies from reaching them.