For Loikaw’s displaced, dreams of returning vie with fears of being pursued by war

Three months after being forced to flee their homes, residents of the Karenni capital don’t know when they will be able to go back, or where they will end up next

It has been three months since Mya Thidar was forced to flee her home in the Karenni State capital Loikaw, and the thought of having to run again fills her with dread.

“I don’t ever want to do it again. My heart aches whenever I think about having to go somewhere else,” said the 36-year-old mother, who now lives near Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, some 100 miles to the north.

Mya Thidar is one of more than 50,000 Loikaw residents who had to leave everything behind in the middle of last November after anti-regime forces launched an offensive aimed at rooting out junta troops in a bid for control of the town.

In response, the regime carried out a series of deadly airstrikes and artillery attacks over Loikaw’s residential wards, prompting a mass exodus to neighbouring Shan State.

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