BURMA: Junta shuts down checkpoint to Mongla
The following article is reprinted with permission from Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.), Thailand.
Junta shuts down checkpoint to Mongla
By Hseng Khio Fah
November 24, 2010
The Burma Army’s Triangle Region Command (TRC) has ordered its units guarding Taping checkpoint, the crossing of the Lwe, which marks the natural boundary between Burma Army and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) controlled areas, not to allow any motor vehicles to pass through, local sources reported.
“Dozens of vehicles were stranded on the two sides because the junta military did not inform us in advance that they would close it,” said a driver whose truck runs regularly between Kengtung and Mongla.
Taping checkpoint is the bridge on the Namlwe that divides Sai Leun’s NDAA better known as Mongla controlled territory, officially labeled as Special Region #4, from the Burmese military controlled territory. Mongla is located opposite China’s Daluo.
“They [soldiers guarding the gate] said the regional commander ordered them not to allow any vehicles to cross over. Some drivers who could not wait turned back,” the same driver said.
A border watcher from Sino-Burma border said the move indicated the tense relation between the junta and Mongla but not a signal of impending hostilities.
Meanwhile, Infantry Battalions (IB) #279 and 281 based in Shan State East’s Mongyang Township which is bordering the UWSA and Mongla areas, have also imposed a curfew from 19:00 until 6:00.
Relation between the Burma Army and Mongla including its allies United Wa State Army (UWSA), Shan State Army (SSA) “North” and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) have become sour since the groups rejected Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force (BGF) program. Beginning 1 September, all the groups would be considered as “illegal organizations”, it had threatened.
Following that reports of fighting between the BA and the groups especially the SSA “North” have been steadily coming out.
A clash between the Burma Army and anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ was reported to have taken place yesterday in Shan State East’s Mongton township resulting in 2 deaths on the Burma Army side and one on the SSA side, local sources reported.
The fighting lasted minutes, 20, according to a local resident from Namhu Khun, the village where the clash took place, opposite Chiangmai’s Chiangdao district.