Internally displaced people (IDPs) from Awng Lawt village in Tanai Township, Kachin State, have said they only want to return to their homes once a ceasefire has been officially announced between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese government forces.
Mung Ban, who is in charge of the IDP camp at Maw Tawng of Jaw Masat Kachin Baptist Church in Myitkyina where Awng Lawt residents are staying, told KNG that the lack of security in their area prevents people from going back.
“Some community members who took a short trip to visit their village stepped on landmines and got injured. We don’t know how many unseen landmines are still there,” he explained.
Villagers from Awng Lawt have taken refuge in Myitkyina since May of last year, when the Burma Army clashed with the KIA in Tanai.
“If we have no other option, we will have to return home. But I don’t know how we will survive day by day. I’m also worried about clashes occurring in our village,” Jan Hka Mai, an Awng Lawt resident now living in the church IDP camp, told KNG.
IDPs in Waingmaw and Myitkyina townships—some for nearly eight years—say that many displaced people only want to go back to their homes once there is a guarantee for their safety.
Under the supervision of the Kachin State government and the Burma Army, 17 IDP families went back to Nam San Yang village in Waingmaw Township on January 30.
The Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee, which is made up of church leaders, is meeting KIO and government officials this week to discuss the possibility of IDP return.