An escalation in fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Tatmadaw near the town of Mong Ko on the China border has emptied villages, while inflaming longstanding tensions over who controls the area.
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About 120,000 people have languished in camps for the internally displaced in Rakhine State since 2012 and among them are hundreds of Kaman, the only Muslim group among Myanmar’s 135 officially-recognised ethnic groups.
The return did not begin as planned on January 23 and further delays are expected amid reports of growing uneasiness among refugees over the repatriation process.