Geneva, Switzerland (BBN)– The United Nations has voiced its concern about reports that between 10,000 and 30,000 refugees have fled violence in Burmese northeastern Shan state recently and headed to China’s Yunnan province.
“Our information is that as many as 30,000 people may have taken shelter in Nansan county since 8 August, saying they were fleeing fighting between Myanmar government troops and ethnic minority groups,” spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Andrej Mahecic told reporters on Friday.
He also said that the agency is liaising with the authorities to investigate what the needs of the refugees are.
According to information received by UNHCR, local authorities in Yunnan Province have already provided emergency shelter, food and medical care to the refugees.
The tension escalated on August 8 and on August 23 when the residence of Kokang’s supreme leader Peng Jiasheng was raided in searching of illicit drugs and weapons.
The Burma, officially known as Myanmar, military government then issued an arrest warrant for Peng and the military occupied Peng’s former headquarters of Loa Kai, according to reports.
Trouble between the Kokang, also known as the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the junta began to snowball when the latter in early August began moving in more troops on the pretext of a drug eradication program.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-29August09-4:10 pm (BST)