Over 2,600 displaced people have taken shelter in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Muse Township after hostilities broke out at the 105th Mile Trading Zone in Muse, northern Shan State on 20 November.
Five IDP camps have been opened in the grounds of religious buildings in Muse to take in the influx of people displaced by the recent fighting.
Currently there are 656 people in Mahawun (Northern Monastery), 486 people in Zaytawun Meditation Monastery, 608 people in Aung Mingalar Monastery, 780 people in Nam Kwam Monastery, and 109 people in a Kachin Baptist church.
E Lwal, a Ta’ang woman who fled from Mann Maw Village to Nam Kwan Monastery said: “When I heard the sounds at night, I thought firecrackers were being set off after a Chinese person died. I found out about the attacks the next morning. I haven’t even gathered in the corn yet. I couldn’t bring anything. I fled with my child, my husband stayed behind at home. I told him to flee but he didn’t want to flee. He wanted to guard the house. I’m worried and scared. All the women, children, and elderly people from my village have fled. Only a few men have stayed behind.”
Man Maw Village is only one mile away from the 105th Mile Trading Zone. It has a population of over 200 people, the majority of which are Ta’ang, Shan and Kachin.
A woman who is helping the IDPs in the Mahawun (Northern Mastery) camp said: “We have been providing them with meals. We also accept donations for them. We distribute clothes, rice, and drinking water to them. The refugees are staying at Shwe Thinzar Hall in the northern ward and at the Northern Monastery.”
Civil society organisations and charity groups from Muse Township have been donating food, medicine, sweaters, blankets, and rice to the refugees.
Though local authorities, local residents, and civil society organisations have been doing their best to assist the refugees, more aid is still needed for them, said Ko Chit Min Than, a donor from Muse.
He said: “Children’s hats clothes and long sleeve tops are needed as it is getting cold now... the situation is still unstable and there are many refugees. We plan to donate the surplus to other areas too.”
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) launched a joint military operation in the Muse 105th Mile Trading Zone on 20 November.
During a press conference held on 21 November the Muse District Administrator, U Kyaw Kyaw Tun said that including civilians nine people had been killed in the attacks. They were: four civilians, one Burmese soldier, three police officers and one member of the people’s militia.
He said: “According to the initial report, 29 people were injured: 22 men and 7 women. Seven men and one woman died. The death toll stood at eight [at first]. But, a woman who was seeking medical treatment in Ruili died during the night. So, the latest death toll stands at nine.”
According to Karuna Social Services in Muse a volunteer worker was injured after two vehicles carrying volunteer workers came under fire as they were trying to rescue people trapped in Lwein Village, in Muse Township.
Local residents said that further skirmishes broke out near the golf course in Muse at around 9pm on 21 November.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI