Maungdaw: Burmese authorities have temporarily stopped the border fence project in western Burma due to heavy rains, after 40 miles of the fence have been completed.
A government employee from Maungdaw said, “There was no official announcement in this regard, but people noticed it after many soldiers were returned by the army authority to their battalions from the fence project sites.”
Over 800 soldiers from several battalions based in northern Arakan had been working on the fence since the project started in February 2009.
A witness from Nga Khu Ra Village confirmed that many soldiers who had been working in the area were sent to their home bases from the construction sites in small Chinese-made army vehicles.
“It is temporarily stopped because soldiers were unable to work during the rainy season. Many soldiers were suffering from diseases including foot infections cause by sand-scratched feet,” the employee said.
However, two riot police battalions are still deployed at the construction sites to look after the project. The employee said, “The project will resume after the rainy season. I heard the project will conclude in 2012.”
In the first five month period of the project, 40 miles of embankment were constructed to provide a foundation for erecting the fence pillars.
According to an official source, 9,000 pillars were erected over the 40-mile embankment and strung with barbed wire.
Burmese military authorities have been constructing the barbed wire fence on the border with Bangladeshsince February, with the stated aim of preventing human trafficking and smuggling across the border.