Dozens More Villagers Flee to Paletwa Town to Escape Armed Conflict

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Some 40 villagers from the communities of Kyaung Chaung and Thaphan Chaung in Paletwa Township sought refuge in Paletwa town on Tuesday, due to fears of intensifying clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State.

According to a local social worker in Paletwa, villagers left Kyaung Chaung preemptively on Tuesday after AA soldiers arrived in the village on December 12.

“Even though the AA troops didn’t make any problems, the villagers were afraid of being caught in the middle if clashes broke out between the Burma Army and the AA,” the social worker said.

Kyaung Chaung is five hours from Paletwa. Twenty villagers from nine families left the community this week.

Locals said that the Burma Army and the AA fought near Thaphan Chaung village on December 14. Twenty villagers from five families fled to Paletwa because they were afraid to continue staying in their community.

“The Burma Army’s military camp is very close to Thaphan Chaung village. When clashes occurred, we felt that the sound of gunshots was very close to us. We were really afraid to stay in our village. That’s why we fled,” a villager from Thaphan Chaung told Khonumthung News.

These newly internally displaced people are mostly staying with relatives in Paletwa. Local civil society organizations are giving 2,000 kyat (US$1.33) per day in support to families that have more than three members and 1,500 kyat ($1.00) per day to those that have less than three people.

The Burma Army and the AA have been fighting in Paletwa since the end of 2015. According to local estimates, at least 4,000 people have led their homes in the township due to the clashes.

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