ARMED CONFLICT

Husband seized by Myanmar rebels, refugee fears for future as she flees to China with newborn twins

Woman crossed into China with her sons after husband taken to fight government forces; he is now believed killed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 1:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 11:15pm

The twin boys are less than two months old, but they may never have the chance to see their father again.

He was dragged away on Monday by a rebel group to fight government forces in northern Myanmar, leaving their mother Alu and the twins to fend for themselves.

‘I wish I were a Chinese citizen’: one Myanmar refugee’s story of his family’s flight to safety in China

Alu said her husband’s last two questions to her were: “Is there enough milk powder? Are there enough nappies?

Then he was taken away.

A day later she received a telephone call saying her husband was dead.

As the fighting in Myanmar near the border with China intensified on Tuesday, Alu and her sister took the two boys and left their home in the town of Muse.

They then joined more than 3,000 other people from Myanmar taking refuge across the border in China.

“I did not have time to take anything except milk powder and nappies,” Alu said. “We didn’t even lock the door.”

China raises security in region near fighting in Myanmar

Hundreds of Myanmar refugees have come from Muse to the Chinese city of Ruili, just a short distance across a river.

Duan Lairong, a Chinese volunteer helping to disperse water, quilt and food to refugees seeking shelter in Jiegao Square near a border checkpoint , said more than 200 refugees were asking for help on Tuesday night.

WATCH: Sounds of artillery fire as people go about their lives in Myanmar

“Most of them went to their relatives’ or friends’ houses when night fell. And some who don’t have any relatives or friends are staying in the square,” said Duan.

Among the dozens of refugees in the square were about 20 to 30 children. Alu’s sons were the youngest.

Temperatures fall to about 10 degree Celsius at night in the area, making poorly clothed children extremely vulnerable.

Who and what are behind Myanmar’s long-running civil war on China’s doorstep?

“I hate the fighting,” said Alu, who plans to go back to Muse when the conflict calms down.

With her husband gone and two newborn babies to care for, Alu was overcome with grief.

Wearing an old purple overcoat and red knitted hat to keep out the cold, she comforted a crying baby in her arms.

“I don’t think of the future because right now, I don’t have time to,” she said.