IDPs from Yedashe Township in Bago Region unable to return home amid ongoing instability

In Yedashe Township, Taungoo District, Bago Region, intense fighting between the Military Council and joint forces led by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) along the eastern bank of the Sittaung River has forced many locals to flee from their homes.

The area experienced violent conflict from April 1st to 7th, during which the Military Council employed air raids and shelling to launch attacks. As a result, residents from nearby villages had to flee to safety. According to a source close to the resistance forces, the majority of these displaced residents have been unable to return home even now.

He told KIC, “During the battles, the Military Council deployed armoured tanks and even used helicopters for close air support on April 5th.

However the excessive use of force in this area, which is located close to Naypyidaw (the capital ).This has led to a significant number of local residents fleeing their homes. While a few have been able to return to their villages, the majority are still on the run, seeking safety elsewhere.”

As of April 9th, there has been no further outbreak of fighting in the area. However, many of the locals remain hesitant about returning to their homes due to the recent conflicts.

A resident of the nearby Hswar Township said that most of the IDPs who fled the clashes sought refuge in monasteries within the town, as well as in the homes of their relatives and friends.

“When armed conflict erupted in rural areas, most villagers hastily fled to nearby towns, taking refuge in makeshift huts constructed behind their friends” homes.

The violence has had a significant impact on several towns along the eastern side of the Sittaung River, such as Yedashe, Hswar, and Thargara, where artillery shells have damaged some houses. While a handful of villagers have courageously returned to their villages, many farmers who fled during the rice harvest were heartbroken to find that their ripening paddies and crops had been devoured by cattle”, he said.

It was on March 17th, that the Junta troops launched offensive operations in Yedashe Township, targeting the villages of Hswar Ywar Ma and Ywar Thit, which led to clashes with the local defense forces, and the Military Council’s army base located in Hswar Township bombarded the combat zones, forcing residents of the surrounding villages to flee the area.

Back in February 2023, Taungoo District, which is under the control of the 2nd Brigade of the Karen National Union (KNU), already had over 30,000 IDPs. This marks a significant increase from the previous list collected in August 2022. According to the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN), a non-governmental organization, Taungoo District is among the areas where the number of IDPs has increased steadily due to armed conflicts.

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