“The military council carried out airstrikes and random heavy weapon shelling over internally displaced persons. We are at risk of these attacks.”

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Armed clashes in Karenni state have forced over  5,000 civilians to flee to Thailand through border areas. The military also carried out airstrike on IDP camps.

This interview with U Aung San Myint, the secretary of Karenni National Progressive Party, is about ongoing armed clashes and hardships of IDPs amid conflicts.

TLT: Could you explain the updated situation of armed conflicts at the border area of Karenni state and Thailand?

U Aung San Myint: Fighting occurs almost every day. Some of the military outposts were raided last week. The military bombed over IDP camps twice in one night at two or three places around mid-night and around dawn. We are providing assistance by setting up temporary camps.

TLT: What are the situations of IDPs?

U Aung San Myint: We need more accommodation for IDPs. Thai government has no policy to set up more IDP camps. The existing ones are just for emergency humanitarian assistance. If the situations have returned to normality, the IDPs will have to go back home.

TLT: Some locals were reportedly stranded in Mae Sae amid the armed clashes. What are being done for their escape?

Only few civilians are being stranded there. We are also working for them. Many civilians are now in our control area.

TLT: What are the ongoing difficulties of IDPs?

U Aung San Myint: The miliary is attacking IDP camps without armed clashes. It was serious violation of war crime and crime against humanity.  The military deliberately targeted civilians, health service facilities, schools,   children and elderly persons outside the conflict areas. They need safe places. The military council carried out airstrikes and random heavy weapon shelling over internally displaced persons. We are at risk of these attacks.

These IDPs are depending on external assistance for their health and basic needs. They cannot do cultivation as they are unable to live in a single place for long time.  They do not have enough shelter like ordinary people, and that they suffer seasonal and infectious diseases due to the lack of hygiene water.

TLT: How are Thai authorities providing assistance to IDPs?

U Aung San Myint: Thai authorities are taking the role in management of IDPs and their security. External humanitarian aid is being given under their management at present. They are working together with Karenni healthcare groups.

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