Local authorities have erected security checkpoints to search passing vehicles in Mong Hsu, Kesi, Laikha, Namzang, and Loilem Townships in central and southern Shan State, where tensions remain high between the Burma Army and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N).
According to Sai Than Sein, a member of Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) in Namzang, security has been tightened throughout the region. Entrance gates to each town in the region are now forced to close at 6:00 p.m. and are allowed to re-open at 6:00 a.m.
“I think they wanted to check people entering and going out of the town,” he said. “People are afraid to go out at night.”
Locals are now staying in their houses after 6:00 p.m., he added, noting particular difficulties for traders who normally travel overnight within the region to sell and buy their goods each morning. Many have had to put their work on hold.
Sai Kyaw Ze Ya, an elected MP from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) in Laikha, also told SHAN that the Burmese authorities placed time restrictions on the opening and closing of the town gate when internally displaced people from Mong Nong first fled to Laikha in early November. There are now an estimated 700 IDPs there.
Trucks which were filled with clothing and food donations for the displaced were halted and checked at near Mak Lung village in Laikha Township on November 23 by the 64th Battalion said a volunteer with local aid groups.
“Five trucks were halted and checked. We were stuck there from 8:00 a.m. Youth and monks from Laikha came to vouch for us, and we passed the checkpoint by 11:00 a.m.,” said Sai Kham, a volunteer. “Unfortunately, that day the telephone network was blocked,” he added.
SHAN first reported on new checkpoints on November 18, in Mong Hsu Township, where an MP said he was stopped from visiting 1,500 internally displaced people whom no one had been able to contact for over ten days. .
On November 24, SHAN reported that a displaced villager from Mong Ark, in Mong Hsu Township, had been attacked by Burma Army soldiers while returning to his farm to complete the annual rice harvest.
Since fighting broke out on October 6, central and southern Shan State have only experienced four days without clashes. Over 10,000 civilians have fled their homes and 17 schools have been forced to close.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)