Sunday, June 23, 2024

KIA Seize Trucks in Hsenwi Township

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Troops from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) are reportedly confiscating people’s vehicles in Hsenwi Township if they refuse to give them cash.

“Fully armed KIA soldiers are demanding money from drivers on the road. If drivers cannot pay the tax, the soldiers take their car keys,” said an anonymous source from the township in Lashio District in northern Shan State.

He said at least three twelve-wheel trucks were seized when the drivers could not pay it on 15 October. The next day the vehicles were still parked on the roadside near the checkpoint between Ho Mong and Nar Khur village in Zay Ou village-tract.

The Kachin armed group has reportedly demanded 1 million kyat (about $500) annually for large trucks, but they have also been asking drivers to give them 2 to 8 million per trip depending on their load.

The KIA clashed with the Burma army in the township in the first week of October. A Buddhist monastery and several civilian houses were damaged by shelling, injuring some people in Kun Kok as both sides exchanged heavy fire. Since the Kachin forces were positioned in front of the monastery, it is assumed that the regime fired the shells that caused the damage in the village.

“We are worried about more clashes because there are many armed groups active in this area. If fighting breaks out here, the locals will face trouble,” the man said, hoping that the local authorities can persuade the KIA to stop demanding money from motorists.

Col Naw Bu, the KIO spokesperson, didn’t have much to say about this when queried by SHAN. “I do not know the details of this matter. Our troops and field officers typically collect taxes in our controlled territory.”

The Kachin armed group has reportedly been demanding money from drivers on the Hsenwi – Kunlong – Chin Shwe Haw road. The town of Chin Shwe Haw, located in a border trade zone with China, is a mandatory route for all large trucks.

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