By Kantarawaddy Times
Monday, May 30, 2022
The regime and the Pa’O National Organisation (PNO) have been pressuring village leaders in southern Shan State not to give refuge to civilians escaping the war between resistance groups and junta soldiers in neighbouring Karenni State.
A source who’s found refuge in Pa’O Self-Administered Zone, has told Kantarawaddy Times that she’s been allowed to stay but her relatives have been denied safe passage. “I asked the abbot of the Buddhist monastery if they’ll take in new internally displaced persons (IDPs). He wants to take in more people, but the village leaders don’t want that,” said the woman, who asked that her identity not be revealed.
The PNO and the junta-appointed General Administration Department (GAD) have reportedly instructed villages and wards to refuse new IDPs.
“They haven’t made an official statement, but if there are too many IDPs in a village, it’s not good for the IDPs or the villagers,” said an anonymous village head from Hsihseng Township. It depends on the place, he said, and some villages can take in new arrivals if they want to but officials from GAD don’t want to hear about it.
Khun Kyaw Swe, who helps conflicted-affected civilians in the township, said many people have already fled Karenni State. “I heard that the GAD called village leaders to their office two weeks ago and told them not to accept new IDPs from Karenni State.” He explained that the GAD claims that the villages are worried about security and cannot cope with taking care of the influx of new arrivals.
According to Khun Kyaw Swe, about 20k people who fled the conflict in Karenni State have fled to the township. Many have returned home, while an estimated 8k have remained in southern Shan State.
After the Burma Army (BA) attacked Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State last January, many people came to Hsihseng. Others have arrived from Demawso, Hpruso and Nam Mae Khong townships this year and in 2021. Buddhist monasteries and Christian churches took them in if they has no relatives to stay with.