Monday, May 20, 2024

TNLA Extorting Money From Drivers And Occupying Houses In Muse Township

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Soldiers from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have been extorting money at highway checkpoints and commandeering civilian houses in northern Shan State, according to local reports.

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On 2 April, people driving on the road between Muse and Nam Kham towns were stopped and forced to pay money at a TNLA toll gate set-up near Kawng Muu and Mang Hawng Loi villages. The TNLA toll gate demanded money from all vehicle types including motorcycles, cars, trucks and lorries.

“TNLA soldiers started to demand money from car drivers on the vehicle road since 11 a.m. They demanded money from every vehicle on the road including trucks and lorries. They extorted 100,000 Kyat from truck drivers and 300,000 Kyat from lorry drivers,” a local witness, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told SHAN.

Local people have complained that this highway extortion is hurting their pocketbooks. In addition, the toll gate caused a traffic back-up which delayed people travelling on the road.

Another concern reported by local people is that TNLA soldiers have been staying in civilian houses in the area between Muse and Nam Kham towns. Local people report that TNLA soldiers have been staying in civilian houses in Kawng Won and Nawng Khan villages in Muse Township for the past week.

“They come to stay in civilian houses. They cook in the kitchen and leave everything there. They do not clean up in the kitchen. They borrow blankets from the house owners. They have been staying in our house for more than a week. Some villagers do not want to live together in the same house with the TNLA soldiers because they are afraid of them, so they go to stay at their relative’s house,” a local female resident, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told SHAN.

The local resident said that people are living in fear and are worried about their security because the TNLA soldiers have been staying in civilian houses.

“Some households have only female members. They are afraid to live in their houses together with TNLA soldiers. This is why they must go to stay in the homes of their relatives. We are also worried about armed clashed happening in our village because the soldiers are staying here. If an armed organization come to attack the TNLA troops in our village, the local civilians will suffer,” she told SHAN.

SHAN repeatedly called the TNLA’s spokesperson Col Tar Aik Kyaw for his comment on the toll gate and the commandeering of civilian houses, but he has not responded.

If armed groups occupy civilian villages or stay in houses together with villagers without permission, it violates the Geneva Convention. It’s a war crime.

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