The Kunlong Township branch of the Myanmar Red Cross Society has helped to rescue 3,163 war refugees from the fighting in the Kokang region within the last week, Daw Shwe Sin Myint, head of the communications department of the NGO, told Mizzima on February 19.
Intense fighting recently broke out in Laukkai, northeastern Shan State, between government forces and the Kokang armed group called Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.
From February 11 to 17, the Kunlong Township branch of the MRCS, in cooperation with some social organizations in the township, arranged vehicles and moved 3,163 refugees from Laukkai to Lashio.
During the rescue efforts, two vehicle accidents occurred, according to the NGO.
Daw Shwe Sin Myint said: “These are the latest figures from Kunlong. The number of the refugees may be larger than the current figure.”
Many civilians have reportedly fled into adjoining regions, as well as over the nearby border into China.
As widely reported, a convoy carrying Myanmar war refugees, correspondents and press photographers was ambushed by an unknown armed group on February 17 and two regional Red Cross workers were injured in the gunfire.
Starting on February 9, intense fighting broke out in Laukkai between the government forces and the Kokang armed group Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, said to be led by Pheung Kya-shin aka Phone Kyar Shin.