Friday, March 5, 2010

China arranging refugee camps near Burma border

China is planning to set up refugee camps, for both Burmese and Chinese citizens, in the country’s southwest Yunnan province, bordering northern Burma, sources near the border said.

The camps will be located in the Longchuan River Valley, Longchuan (or Nshawn in Kachin) County, in Dehong Dai Jinghpo (or Kachin in Burmese) Autonomous Prefecture, Kachin residents of Longchuan said.

03022010longchuan-refugee-campThey said the Chinese government is also planning to feed the arriving refugees and intends to provide every refugee living in the camps with 8 Chinese Yuan (US$1.14) per day.

Thousands of acres of sugar cane on both sides along the two countries’ border are being quickly cut down and harvested, because of concerns expressed by the Chinese Border authority about renewed armed conflict, according to farm owners in the area.

The camps will accept ethnic Kachin people who live along the border who will flee if the civil war resumes between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Burma’s ruling junta, because of failed negotiations about the formation of a Border Guard Force, residents of the area said.

Tensions have gradually increased between the KIO and the Burmese junta near the KIO territories in Kachin and Northeast Shan State, after the February 28 deadline expired for the KIO to transform its armed-wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), into the junta-controlled Border Guard Force, according to KIA officers in the frontlines.

On the deadline day, about 300 Burmese troops were secretly transported to a military base in Sin Lum Bum, the strategic army base near KIA battalion No. 15 and 3rd brigade command, based in Maijayang, near the China border, a reliable local source told Kachin News Group today.

In mid February, Burmese troops who had been deployed to Karen State were recalled to their native army battalions in Bhamo, Kachin State, according to sources close to Burmese battalions in that area.

KIA sources said all troops in the two states have been put on high alert to defend against attacks by Burmese troops.

Yesterday, the KIO began its crucial central committee meeting (or Ginjaw Komiti Hkum Ra Zuphpawng in Kachin language), at Laiza Headquarters, in Kachin State, near the China border.

It is expected to make a final decision on acceptance of the junta’s proposal on the formation of the BGF, according to central committee members.