The Burmese military Government has closed a portion of road between Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) and Thanphyuzayart, and also ordered a curfew for residents and travels of 5 PM. The curfew comes almost a week after increased attacks were carried out by the Largest Karen insurgent group.
The curfew, banning all travel after 5 pm, is reportedly disrupting travel plans and increasing the risks travelers must take on their journey.
According to a person who recently was returning from TPP to Thanphyuzayart, “They don’t allow [our] going after 5 pm. If someone else goes [later then] the time they recognized, they [officers] already gave the order to shoot [that person].”
The potential for violence has risen, as on multiple days this month, the Burmese armywas attacked by or fought the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a Karen insurgent force that has been fighting the Burmese government since 1949.
A car owner, who has made the trip multiple times, told IMNA, “After the military closed the road, traders and car owners have been seeing financial problems. For [what is normally] a day journey, we now have to go two or three days. Because of thatproblem we have to sleep on the journey. Before, we could go anywhere during the sunset time [after 5 pm] if we wanted to arrive [somewhere] earlier. [Now] we have to beafraid for if they fight each other again when we sleep on the journey. Now we can’ttravel the way we want to and also it is affecting the car owners economy.”
On June 14th soldiers from Burmese Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 284 were injured when, between Thaung Sorn and Koung Kan villages, soldiers from the KNLA who had seen the Burmese unit coming, threw a pressure-triggered claymore and began shooting. On June 7th. LIB No. 284 forces had been previously attacked by KNLA forcesbetween TPP and Thanphyuzayart.
The attack most widely covered by recent news media was on June 10th when a Burmese truck was attacked near Japan Toung village, Thanphyuzayart Township, killing 11 soldiers and injuring 20. The same day 1 LIB No. 284 soldier was killed and 2 more injured when the KNLA fought the unit near Myinetharyar village close to TPP.
These attacks, which have occurred along the roads, have also included a supply raid. Also on June 10th, KNLA Battalion 201 stripped Burmese provisions from two Burmese supply trucks in Kaw-ka-reik Township, said a KNU spoke person, Saw Thair Nay.
The result has been distinct rise in tension over KNLA presence in the area. In Myawaddy, a large border and trade town abutting Thailand’s town of Mae Sot, people are afraid to leave their homes in the evenings out.
One Myawaddy resident explains, “They [Burmese soldiers] parole the town, with their uniform’s on. It’s been happening [for] about a week, we never saw like that before.”