Burma Army troops have been checking all vehicles traveling on the Lashio-Hsipaw highway in northern Shan State since Friday, local sources told SHAN.
Previous checkpoints on the road were operated by police officers, and would search cars for illegal drugs. Now, the checkpoints are manned by Tatmadaw troops, locals said.
“They checked travelers at the entrance to Lashio today,” Sai Harn, who works with the Shan Youth Organization, told SHAN. “Now, it’s all soldiers who are waiting at the checkpoint,” he said.
He described the activities as “unusual” and noted that every vehicle was subject to a search.
A woman who was traveling to Hsipaw noticed that certain people were singled out for more thorough searches at the military-run checkpoints.
“They strictly checked male travelers. If a traveler was an ethnic Shan, they more strictly checked their body, phone, and bag,” she told SHAN.
Locals speculated that the tightened security may be linked to a series of clashes between the Burma Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State in Mong Kung Township to the south. The fighting, which took place in Ham Ngai village tract, displaced some 500 people, and led to reports of government troops looting villagers’ homes.
SHAN tried to call the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team, as well as local parliamentarians for comment, but was unable to reach them at the time of reporting.