Tatmadaw helps foreigners stranded by fighting in Kutkai Township
LASHIO August 22
While working at basic educat-ion schools in Kutkai Township, Shan State (North), for Myan-mar’s education promotion since 3 August 2019, 28 people led by Mrs. Chou Wei Kuo from Go and Love Foundation had been stranded at KK Guest House in Kutkai since 15 August amid mine attacks by AA, TNLA and MNDAA insur-gents on towns, villages, roads and bridges.
Those stranded people—14 Chinese, nine Americans, two from Hong Kong, two Taiwanese and one Canadian—were transported by Tatmadaw helicopters and they arrived at Lashio Airport at about 10.30 am today. They received warm welcome at the airport lounge by military officers led by Deputy Commander of North-East Command Brig-Gen Kyaw Kyaw Tun, state and district level departmental officials, police led by the deputy head of the State Police Force and officials.
In his welcoming speech, Brig-Gen Kyaw Kyaw Tun explained the situation in which transport and regional peace and stability were affected by insurgents’ attacks, and Tatmadaw’s effort to rescue them. Deputy State Commissioner U Kyaw Thu Zaw urged them to let the world know about the government and Tatmadaw’s efforts to care for the people and their goodwill.
US citizen Mrs. Chou Wei Kuo said that she faced skirmishes in Kutkai. She stayed at the hotel on 16 August due to blocking the routes to the lodge in Kutkai. She said she saw capable moves of the Tatmadaw troops who evacuated them. She noticed ethnics of Myan-mar are good minded persons with goodwill. She expressed her plans to pay more visits to Myanmar in the future because of keeping it in her memory. She expressed her heartily thanks and satisfaction to all including the Tatmadaw and the government for safely evacuating them.
In an interview with Mrs. Chou Wei Kuo, she said, “We all are 28 persons. We arrived in Myanmar to carry out education matters including conducting training to teachers and fulfilling the needs of children in order to enhance school education. We arrived in Yangon on 2 August and in Lashio on 3 August. The following day, we proceeded to Kutkai and spent there about two weeks in the town. We were very happy to pay visits to Kutkai. So also, we were happy in meeting with children. We saw children were very happy. We didn’t know clashes happened on 15 August. We took a rest at the hotel. On 16 August, we knew we could not return. At that time, the government officials warned us not to go out, so we continuously stayed at the hotel. We knew the government would inform us about the date of return.”
A: We never expected to meet this kind of situation. And we never expected the Tatmadaw’s help. Altogether 28 of us had no idea how to return home. In that situation, the Police Col and immigration officials visited us. We came to know that the government was doing its best to help us. Ms. Li from Chinese Embassy also came and comforted us, and assured best efforts to save us. We thank every individual who helped us. We would not be safe without their efforts. Without their efforts, we would not have the opportunity to go back home. We heard mine explosions during the previous night. The explosions even shook window frames. We express heartfelt thanks to everyone for the safety of all the 28 members of our group. It is a miracle. Thank you very much.
Q: How do you see the responsive acts of the Myanmar Tatmadaw in the conflict affected area?
A: Good, very good. The Tatmadaw is very quick. The Tatmadaw help us with two helicopters at a huge cost. It is an excellent response.
The foreigners were transported to Yangon from Lashio by Tatma-daw aircraft. The plane arrived at Yangon International Airport at about 1.30 pm. Officials of the relevant ministries and the US ambassador to Myanmar welcomed them at the airport, and rendered necessary assistance.
The spokesperson of the US Embassy said they were very happy to see they were safe and the American Embassy was grateful to the Myanmar authorities for their transport.
Internal and external media collected news about the arrival of the trapped foreigners, and help provided for them.