MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Monks were amongst those who fled to safety in eastern Myanmar conflicts

Myanmar refugees fleeing to Thai border as fighting intestines between the military and KNU forces. Photo | Karen Free Man Facebook.

Hundreds of monks were among the thousands of people who fled2 major towns in Mynamar’s Kayah (Karenni) State last week as fighting has intensified in the southern region between the military and local militia groups, known as the People’s Defense Forces which oppose the regime,

The UN estimates that over 90,000 individuals have fled Loikaw city in the region where more than half of the population has been displaced, with local NGO’s putting the total at 170,000.

One monk told AFP anonymously… “It was impossible for us to stay there. It was hard to make the decision to leave. The monk added that those at over 30 monasteries fled, which is an unusual sight in a country where monasteries are venerated and temples are regarded as safe-havens.

According to him, who is one of the roughly 5,000 people who had fled to eastern Shan state, twelve monasteries in nearby Demoso town had also deserted.

At least 35 people were found burned in Kayah state over Christmas Eve last year, including two Save the Children NGO workers, in an atrocity alleged by junta troops.

Dozens of armed militia groups have emerged across Myanmar to oppose the regime as deadly military crackdowns have resulted in the killings of over 1,400 civilians after the military seized power last year and ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews, urged junta leader Min Aung Hlaing earlier this week to stop the air and ground attacks on Loikaw, relieve the barrier on people attempting to flee and allow humanitarian aid.