A villager from Tee-Loan Village-Tract said that because of the standoff between the two forces residents are worried and are restricting their daily routines and the amount they travel and work.
He said: “We farmers are in a difficult situation if we travel and we are afraid of the current situation. It is like watching a taught piece of string worrying when it will break.
Residents say there was frequent fighting in these two village tracts before the ceasefire agreement, even after the ceasefire agreement villagers remain worried because both forces have bases there.
A member of the Peace Monitoring Group in Loikaw said that the villagers’ main livelihood is farming and now is the beginning of the growing season, so having troops in the area is a crisis for them.
He said: “People are worried by this tense situation, they are preparing for the growing season and waiting for the rain [to soften the soil so that they can plough]. They need to sleep at their fields which are far away from the villages, but now they dare not sleep there anymore. When they go to their fields they see soldiers from both sides all the time, which scares them.”
Recently, in the last few days, residents from Mel-Pham village in Tee-Loan Village-Tract have had to send water to Burma Army forces twice a day, said villagers.
A KNPP soldier who is part of the campaigning tour said that the main objective of the tour is only to meet with people. Now, due to constraints they have already been in the village for seven days and they are becoming a burden on the villagers and causing them worry.
He said: “There is nothing wrong with our objective of meeting people. Now the Burma Army is blocking us, so we are concerned for the villagers because we have already been in the village for seven days. We want to continue on our trip, but we have not received any orders to continue, once we receive them we will have to continue [on our way].”
At present the Burma Army has bases in Kon-Nar, Nan-Kwel, east of Mel-Pham Villages (outside the village) and in the jungle along the Pon-Chaung Stream. KNPP forces are in Daw-Ta-Ngay, Wam-Ngot, Daw-Sel, Mel-Pham, Phayar-Phyu, and Nong-Loan villages in Htee-Sel-Khar and Tee-Loan village-tracts in Loikaw Township.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI