Kachin State’s help sought in Tanai refugee crisis
OFFICIALS from Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) said they will submit a letter to Kachin State’s government this week to request for help to relocate Tanai refugees back to their villages.
KBC’s officials and Myitkyina-based Peace Talk Creation Group (PCG)’s officials negotiated with officials from the Northern Command to send back refugees on September 10, but reached no agreement. They are now planning to ask the state government, KBC’s secretary Dr Hkalam Samson said on Monday.
Thousands of people fled their villages due to fights between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Tatmadaw. Civilians have been sheltered in religious organisations in Tanai for over three months.
Refugees told officials from KBC and PCG that they are worried that they would have to flee their villages again because the military still remains near their villages, Dr Hkalam Samson said. Tamadaw officials of the Northern Command told them that it is difficult for the military to withdraw from Tanai because KIA has yet to ratify the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, he added.
“The displaced do not dare to return to their villages as Tatmadaw columns are still there. We told about it with Tatmadaw when we met them. Since KIA hasn’t signed the NCA, they said it’s difficult to retreat. It is also hard for the displaced to go back if the military is still present. We will notify the state government so that matters can be handled,” said Dr Kalam Samson.
There are tensions between Tatmadaw and KIA in the Tanai Region, and over a thousand local villagers from the amber mines took refuge inside religious schools in Tanai. Providing food for internally displaced persons (IDP) is becoming difficult, said religious leaders. “The displaced consume about 10 bags of rice daily, and as aid groups cannot get to them, they have to pay K45,000 for one bag of rice; so, things are looking hard on the long-term,” said Tanai Kachin Baptist Church leader, Dabang Jedi.
As of now, regarding the relocation of displaced persons back to their home, the state government has not made any announcements, said U Lin Lin Oo, Tanai Township Pyithu Hluttaw MP.