Yangon — The United Nations is seriously concerned for hundreds of civilians in Myanmar who are trapped in a conflict zone in the northern Kachin state amid renewed fighting between the army and rebels.
It says over 1,000 people, many of them children, are believed to be running short of food after being caught up in a renewed clashes between governmental troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Mansi township in recent days, in spite of ongoing ceasefire negotiations.
“I am seriously concerned about the civilians being caught in any crossfire, especially children and the elderly,” said Ashok Nigam, UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Myanmar, in a statement.
Some 100,000 people have been displaced by the fighting that broke out in Kachin, near the northern border with China, in June 2011 when a 17-year ceasefire crumbled.
“Hostilities must cease,” said Nigam of the Mansi fighting, and aid agencies should be allowed access to civilians trapped in the area who are deemed “in urgent need of assistance,” according to reports.
The UN said local aid groups are now unable to reach the displaced and report that they “have only food for a few days”.
The bloodshed in Kachin, along with the religious violence in the country, has overshadowed the widely-praised political changes taking place as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule.