Burmese military close Stilwell Road


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Tensions are building in Kachin State after government troops have blocked Stilwell Rd., also known as Ledo Rd., connecting Myitkyina with Danai, on June 17. The Burmese army blocked travel on the road so they could control the movement of civilians and reinforce their military positions in Hpakant Township.
 
Last month, in Hpakant Township the government suspended all jade mining operations and warned civilians to return to their homes by May 30.  Since then, intense fighting between the KIA and Burmese military have broken out in the area.
 
The travel restrictions on the Ledo road and other places in the region are creating problems for residents who are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a livelihood.

“Now more than 700 (Burmese) soldiers are marching through Danai town to 8 miles. We have heard more than 500 soldiers will join them,” said a resident from Kamaing.

Burma Army’s battalions, Infantry No. 86, IB No. 238 and Light Infantry Battalion No. 318, based around Danai, have been conducting daily military exercises outside the town.  They are firing small arms and artillery. They are also laying land mines.  Martial law has been imposed and residents are not allowed to leave their homes or farms.

Despite over a half-dozen meetings between Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and government peace team fighting has been occurring on a daily basis since the government broke a 17-year ceasefire over a year ago (June 9).

A new meeting between KIO and government peace team is planned for next week at neutral site between Bhamo-Loije border route with China, according to KIO officials.


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