Interview with stakeholders in Kachin State

By: Ye Khaung Nyunt, Photo: Poe Htaung

The media group that travelled to Myitkyina on 9 May for three days visited the Maria Heavenly Maiden Church in Tang Hpre, Myitsone Village, the Trinity Baptist Church in Kawarka, Naungnan Village, the Nyaung Yan Camps (1, 2, 3, 4) previously held by KIA Brigade (2) and the brigade’s headquarters in Awng Lawt Village.
The following are excerpts from interviews with displaced villagers, military personnel, and officials from the Myanmar Red Cross.
Injong Jartaung, 60
Tanbaungyan Village
Maria Heavenly Maiden Church
“I’m from Nan Paw Yan Village and I came here with my entire village. There are a hundred of us. We receive necessary food and a place to stay. I was a farmer in my village and I have four family members. We didn’t bring anything with us. We want to live peacefully in our hometown. They are fighting each other but we are in the crossfire. We left because we were afraid of getting caught in that crossfire.”
La Paing Bran Shaung, 38
(18) Mile Village
Maria Heavenly Maiden Church
“I’ve fled from war twice. Seven years ago I fled from Zanpaing when shootings befan and now I’ve fled from (18) mile. I’m scared of the shootings so I left. I arrived here on 3 May with my entire family, all twelve of us including relatives. We had to circle through the forests to get here. We came by foot and I had to carry my 117 year old mother-in-law so we took longer to get here. I don’t want to talk much about war. I do get affected by it. I just want to live in peace with my family. Things here are good, I just worry for my aging mother-in-law.”
La Taung Tu, 80
Ingyanyan Village
Naungnan Village Trinity Baptist Church
“I come from Ingran Kaung Village near Ingyanyan Village. We fled because we were terrified of the war. I came with my son, his wife and their children. I still have family members left back in the village but I don’t know if they will flee the village or not. I’ve been facing war since I was 20 years old. I just wish for all fighting to end.”
Brig-Gen Kyaw Soe Min
(Regional Command)
“Our fighting mainly took place in Tadar Nyi Naung Hpakant Myitkyina on 6 April. Another one took place in Lamone Village on 8 April when the other side attacked us first. Because of that we carried out area clearance operations in Tanai at the KIA Nyaung Yan Camps (1, 2, 3, 4) and Brigade (2) Headquarters. We avoided civilians and focused on military targets and avoided villages from getting damaged. Everyone who’s visited the villages can see the houses were not damaged. Everyone wants to return to their homes and we can take care of their security here.”
Lt-Col Soe Htet
(Regional Command)
“I’m assigned to security details in Awng Lawt Village. I arrived here on 1 May and the first thing we saw was the KIA Brigade (2) Headquarters burning. The other side of the village was completely untouched. Since our arrival we have not received any villagers coming to us for help saying they are trapped. Before we arrived here the church organizations contacted 200 people the first time and transported them with help from the Red Cross. But these people were not from Awng Lawt. They were workers from Shwe Maw and merchants and they were taken back to their hometowns. We’ve cleaned the churches in the village and left the houses in their normal state.”
U Gae Nest, Chairman
Kachin State Red Cross Society
“We received news on 17 April that people were trapped in Awng Lawt Village so we asked for permission from the state government and received it immediately. We received additional permission from the regional command on 18 April and then we arrived in Awng Lawt on 20 April. We did not see anyone when we first arrived in Awng Lawt. When the workers and merchants heard the Red Cross was here they appeared on 20 April. We contacted Awng Lawt villagers five times through the people who arrived. They thanked us for coming but they said they will discuss among themselves and didn’t come out. We waited at our temporary camp in KBC Church for three days. In the end we just took the 225 workers and merchants to Tanai Administration Department and send them back to their various hometowns. The people in Awng Lawt said they were at a place three days’ walk away and didn’t appear anymore.”

Families taking temporary shelter in Trinity Baptist Church in Naung Nan Village eating dinner.
Families taking temporary shelter in Trinity Baptist Church in Naung Nan Village eating dinner.
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