Kachin State’s help sought in Tanai refugee cri­sis

The Myanmar Times - - News - – Chan Thar

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.

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