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Intensified fighting in Myanmar forces more people from homes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo, released on May 19, 2021, shows displaced people from Mindat in a makeshift shelter in western Myanmar’s Chin state. (By AFP)

People displaced by a surge of fighting between Myanmar’s military and anti-coup fighters in the northwestern state of Chin are concerned about shelter and supplies amid growing fears of a civil war.

Myanmar’s army last week attacked fighters of the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) in the town of Mindat in what was described as “some of the heaviest” rounds of fighting with local armed groups opposing the military coup. Ten people have been killed in Chin over the past week.

Those fleeing hostilities say thousands of people left Mindat after the army attacked to uproot the CDF fighters.

“When it rains, we don't have strong shelters,” said a displaced woman, who fled on foot from Mindat.

“We have enough rice and dry peas, but we have to go and find vegetables. There is a shortage of oils and fuel for motorcycles. There are no medical supplies. Even if we have money, we cannot buy groceries,” added the woman, whose name was not mentioned in the reports.

On Tuesday, the UN refugee agency mentioned “reports of civilians killed and injured and civilian property damaged or destroyed.”

“Access by humanitarian partners to the people fleeing violence or those still in their homes is challenging due to insecurity,” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The displacement threatens to push more people over the nearby border with India, where more than 15,000 people had sought refuge since the coup of February 1 in Myanmar. 

The junta has been ruling Myanmar since that February day, when it ousted the civilian government of de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Defying the junta, people have been protesting on the streets, calling for the release of the deposed leader and other politicians and the restoration of civilian rule.

 


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