More than 10,000 people have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Chin state amid renewed fighting between junta troops and anti-coup militias in the region.
A Radio Free Asia report quoted a refugee saying that thousands had fled Mindat township to escape the fighting, which resumed on June 3.
“They are trying to attack our camps in three columns,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal.
“We have no more rice supplies. The rainy season is here now, and we need tarpaulins. We fled our homes to get away from the fighting, but now we will have to run again,” added the source.
The United Nations has earlier called for urgent help to assist an estimated 100,000 people who have fled fighting in the country’s eastern Kayah state.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, a Norwegian NGO, reported that decades of military conflict between the government military and ethnic armies resulted in more than 500,000 internally-displaced people.
The Chin Human Rights Organization estimated that about 40,000 civilians have fled their homes throughout Chin state since May.
A spokesman of the Chinland Defense Force militia told RFA that clashes have been on the uptick in Mindat since last week, with residents “fighting back against the military with all available weapons.”
The spokesman said that some 20 militiamen detained at a police station in Mindat since the fighting resumed have been denied food since Sunday.
On Tuesday, the United Nations in Myanmar voiced concern about what it called “the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Kayah state and other areas in southeastern Myanmar.”
The UN specifically referred to the estimated 100,000 men, women, and children in Kayah that it said are mostly seeking safety in host communities and forests across the state.
Some 15,000 civilians are believed to have fled across the border into India’s state of Mizoram to escape fighting in Chin state in recent weeks.
“The United Nations reiterates its earlier calls for all parties to urgently take the necessary measures and precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly protected objects such as medical units and personnel, and to adhere to the fundamental principles of distinction, necessity, proportionality and protection,” read a UN statement.
The UN stressed the urgent need for food, water, shelter, fuel, and access to healthcare for people fleeing the fighting, saying that the aid it has distributed is insufficient.
According to the Thailand-based rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 857 civilians have been killed and more than 4,700 people have been arrested in Myanmar since the military coup. – with a report from Radio Free Asia.