Mongton township police have been assigned for their security, said a source close to the police.
The Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ that had negotiated for the release of the abducted engineers confirmed the report. “There are three of them,” said Maj Lao Hseng, spokesperson for the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the SSA’s political arm. “They went in in November after notifying us.”
They would return to China in May 2012 upon conclusion of their survey, according to him. No further details have been disclosed.
China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) has a 51% stake with Thailand’s MDX 24% and Burma 25%, in the 7,110 megawatt 228 meter high dam project.
The 4 engineers were detained for nearly 3 months before release on promise that they would leave Tasang immediately.
“The company must have been all eyes and ears on the ceasefire talks between the SSA and Naypyitaw.” said the source close to the police. “As soon as the news came that the signs were positive, they were quick to grab the opportunity.”
It remains to be seen how the anti-dam activists are going to react to the latest development. “Before we only had the Burmese government and the Chinese company to cope with,” said Sai Sai of Shan Sapawa. “Now we might be having another one: the SSA.”
Sao Pai Mong, the SSA’s advisor however said, “We have only signed a truce. That doesn’t mean we have become allies (with Naypyitaw).”
The SSA South is the 4th armed group to conclude a ceasefire pact with the new Burmese government since September. The agreement was signed on 2 December.