Chin Refugees in Nu Po Camp Fear Attacks from Burma Army
02 February 2011: In the wake of fighting between Burma Army and DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) on the Thai-Burma border, Chin refugees based in Nu Po Refugee Camp, Thailand say they lead their daily lives in fear of attacks from Burma Army.
“Our most difficult time is when we hear that the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) army are going to attack our camp. We always prepare ourselves not to fight back, but to run into the deep jungle. Until today, we haven’t come across such attacks yet but we hear the terrible sounds of mortars falling in our surrounding and see some villagers fleeing here and there,” one of the Chin refugees told Chinland Guardian.
“In addition, we hear almost everyday that the Thai government will send us all back to Burma. we are really downhearted and depressed by hearing this kind of news again and again,” added the Chin refugee.
It is reported that the Chin refugees have arrived in the Nu Po Camp on the Thai-Burma border since 2005.
Thailand has currently around 150,000 refugees, mainly from eastern Burma, in nine camps along the Thai-Burma border, according to recent reports.
“The longer we stay in the camp, the weaker we become psychologically, mentally and physically. There are so much to say about what a refugee life is all about. As for us, a refugee life is a life that is full of fear and uncertainty,” continued the Chin refugee.
About 251 out of an estimated 15,000 refugees from nine different ethnic groups currently stranded in Nu Po Camp are Chin, with the majoriy being Karen. There are 105 females and 57 children, mostly under age 13, of Chin ethnicity.
The Nu Po Chin refugees also express their grave concern for the future of their children.
Burma’s ruling military junta has long waged war with the country’s ethnic minorities, who for decades have sought autonomy. In the late 1990s the junta stepped up attacks, razing thousands of villages, displacing half a million people and laying landmines to prevent communities from returning to their land, according to the UK Guardian News.
Thousands of people from Burma have fled the ongoing fighting between Burma army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) into hiding in the jungle or across the Thai border as refugees since last November.
Van Biak Thang