Wed 9 Oct 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,Military,News,Refugees
Local residents of Bamao District in Kachin State have reported that arecent increase in the presence of government troops has compelled war refugees to flee the area.
Meanwhile, armistice talks between the government’sPeace-making Working Committee and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) continue in Myitkyina.
Reverend Lahtau Zau Bauk of the Kachin Baptist Church told Mizzima that around 200 residents from the villages of Nan Te, Nar U Gyi and Nar U Lay in Mansi Township, Bamao District, have fled their homes since thousands of governmental military personnel began arriving on 7 October.
“[Church representatives] brought food to [the refugees]. We contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] and the World Food Programme [WFP] collected the names of the refugees. However, the food rations provided by these organizations will only arrive two to three weeks from now. So we told new refugees to stay with the old refugees and share food and shelter with them,” Reverend Lahtau Zau Bauk said.
“Hla Maung Shwe, a senior official at the Myanmar Peace Center, said that on 8 October, the first day of the latest round of talks between the government and the KIO, both sides discussed the formation of a Joint Monitoring Committee to oversee the progress of the ceasefire.”
Government representative Lt. Gen. Myint Soe and vice-chairman and Union Minister Aung Min of the Union Peace-making Working Committee both noted that the recent de-escalation inviolence within Kachin Stateand the release of eighteen KIO prisoners are tangible signs of the progress towards peace.
Meanwhile, Col. Sai Hla from the Restoration Council of Shan State and Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S), who attended the peace talks as an observer, said that both sides want a ceasefire. He also noted that at a meeting between representatives from ethnic armed groups and Union Minister Aung Min on 7 October, the Minister mentioned that the government intends to convene a nationwide political dialogue on peace in March 2014.