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     Home > Charity and Solidarity  >  2014-04-15 17:20:54
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Kachin, Burmese Army raids rebel stronghold: thousands of refugees and humanitarian crisis

April 15, 2014: Fighting has resumed in Kachin State, northern Burma bordering China, between the Burmese army and ethnic rebel militia Kachin Independence Army ( Kia) . The new wave of violence flared up on April 10 in conjunction with the launching of the Naypyidaw census and has already caused more than 3 thousand new refugees. The alarm is being raised by a group of local NGOs, including Christian organizations, who appeal to the international community to intervene to stop the fighting. Tensions have also erupted into guerrilla warfare in the northern part of the neighboring Shan State . Local Catholic sources told AsiaNews that the fighting has created a situation of "chaos" along the Sino-Burmese border , which is struggling to stabilize.
In recent weeks, the central government has sent a large number of soldiers to the area under the pretext of ensuring the proper conduct of the census; However , the statistical survey - also funded by the United Nations - was boycotted by the political wing of the Kachin rebels (Kio, or the Kachin Independence Organization) , because in addition to excluding the Rohingya Muslim minority, it is in fact not representative of the entire Kachin population, predominantly Christian.
The clashes in recent days have caused the flight of 800 inhabitants from the village of Yang Lagat, controlled by the Kio rebels; of these, at least 200 have fled across the border to China, where the situation is described as "chaotic". 2 thousand people, a mix of ethnic Kachin, Shan and Palaung have fled to China to escape raids by the Burmese army. So far, the authorities in Beijing have not placed special restrictions on crossing the border, but monitoring remains tight and it is not known whether a residence permit will be granted for refugees and for how long.
Myanmar is home to over 135 ethnic groups, and has always struggled to promote a peaceful coexistence among them. The leaders of the independence movement and representatives of the central government in Naypyidaw - a semi-civil government led by President Thein Sein - made numerous attempts to bring about peace, without ever obtaining any tangible or lasting results .


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