Hundreds of local residents living in Wanhai of Shan State South’s Kehsi township, where the headquarters of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ is based, are now leaving the area following the SSA’s call asking everyone to evacuate to other areas for their safety, according to local sources.
“They [SSA] said the security around the village is unpredictable and fighting could break out at anytime. Therefore, the group was asking everyone, especially women, children and elderly people to leave the area at their earliest possible,” said a local villager who just arrived in Monghsu township this morning.
“But men and youth were asked to remain in the area in order to help fight with the group,” she added.
According to him, the call came out after the SSA received the junta’s ultimatum to surrender by 1st April. It was also demanded to pull out from all their bases spread out in areas outside its main base, within this week.
Since then, everyone is rushing to evacuate to other places, especially to towns like Monghsu, Kehsi and Taunggyi up to date. Some people were going with Tolaji (Chinese made farm tractor) and trucks while some were fleeing in bullock-carts.
“Transport fare in Monghsu has increased dramatically when many people are coming to take the buses here. Buses are full everyday,” said a local villager in Monghsu.
Meanwhile, people from and nearby Honam, Pangpien villages, where the first fighting of the SSA and Burma Army took place, are still fleeing as well up to this day. At present, Monghsu is hosting hundreds of refugees including injured people, but accurate data of the refugees are not available as people are not gathered at one place, residents in Monghsu said.
Dozens of civilians in the conflict zones were reportedly killed and injured by the Burma Army’s heavy shells.
“People are very frightened, not only the refugees, but also the townspeople. Some of them are even moving out to other cities due to fear that hostilities will spread to the town,” the source in Monghsu said.
The SSA and the Burma Army have been fighting in several places in Shan State South’s Monghsu’s township and Shan State North’s Tangyan township since Sunday, on 13 March.
The latest reports say the attack is believed to be taking place in Mongyai township as hundreds of Burma Army troops were seen heading toward Nawngkhio, a village in the township.