All boats running in the Namtu River (Dutthawaddy) from Burma Army controlled areas to the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ territory in Shan State North’s Hsipaw township were closed down by the military junta and some were kept by the authorities as well, according to local sources.
All the boats from Tatay, Hart Len, Kunlong and Namsim villages that lies along the river were ordered to stop running since Monday, 28 March. It was issued by Hsipaw authorities, said a local resident.
Some 80 boats were being detained by the authorities, up to date, saying the owners failed to comply with the order. Currently, villagers residing there are facing difficulty to travel and live their lives as the people there are only using the boats for their transportation to trade their goods and vegetables, just like people living in Shan State South’s Inlay Lake.
“They [the authorities] come and wait along the river side everyday to stop the boats. No one dares to go now because fearing arrest,” he said. “But they did not tell us why they did not allow running the boats.”
The order is believed to be related to an attack reportedly took place in Shan State North’s Kyaukme township, where the former SSA’s 3rd Brigade was active, killing over 30 Burma Army soldiers and many injured.
The SSA’s First Brigade-turned Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) is reportedly extending its controlled region to its former areas in Namtu, Namhsan, Mongmit and Kyaukme townships while fighting against the Burma army, local residents said.
The clashes between the two sides are reported almost everyday since 13 March. The SSA was given an ultimatum to surrender by 1st April, today. But to date the SSA is still reportedly ignoring it.
The SSA has retreated to the deep jungles since the first day the offensive started. Proposal submitted at the parliament to find peaceful resolution with the ethic armed groups by ethnic parties on 25 March was defeated by 520 votes against 106 votes in favor.