‘We are not allowed to be afraid’: Bali people fight to stay alive in war-torn Philippines
Bali resorts in the Philippines are being overwhelmed by people fleeing the conflict in neighbouring Vietnam, where more than 4,000 people have been killed.
The resort city of Pangasinan, the capital of Mindanao, has been the site of a humanitarian crisis since the military launched a brutal crackdown on the Balinese separatist rebellion that began in 2008.
More than 400,000 Balis live in the area, according to the UN, and about 2,500 have been forcibly displaced.
The UN says some 500,000 are living in the southern province of Basilan.
In February, Philippine authorities ordered the evacuation of about 6,000 residents in the resort town of Banda Aceh, which has been besieged by the fighting.
The government said it would use the situation as a base to launch a broader campaign to end the conflict.
It was not immediately clear when the military would order the evacuation, but the Philippine military said it had been working to relocate the Balis.
The Bali community of Bali province, a Muslim area of the southern Philippines, has suffered many hardships, said Bali leader Ahmad Bahadur, who is in exile in the United States.
The United Nations says at least 1,800 people have died since the conflict began.
In a statement, the UN said Balis have been “a victim of systematic, widespread and widespread human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and enforced disappearance cases, enforced disappearance of their families, torture and ill-treatment, and forced labour”.
In the latest round of violence, police on Monday fired tear gas at residents in a village where Bali families were staying.
The area is surrounded by a large fence and military personnel have blocked access to the village, which is also home to the town’s main hospital.
Residents of the village say police had been searching for the residents, but that the military had turned up to evict them.
“We have nothing.
We have no food.
The village is full of dead bodies.
They don’t give us water.
They say they are going to give us medicine.
They have no medical facilities,” said one Bali resident, who gave only his surname, Sama.
Residents are also fighting for their land, which lies within the border with Vietnam, and say they fear they will be forced to sell it if they leave the area.
“They have told us to get the land.
We are going there,” said Sama, referring to the area around the town where the families have been living for years.
The Philippine government says more than 5,000 government personnel are supporting local authorities in fighting the Bali rebels.