Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Kokang clashes hit internet and phone services

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Telephone and internet connections were cut off in Kokang during gun battles between the Kokang Army and government troops, said residents and observers.

“Most internet connections for people in Northern Shan State Special Region (1) are from China. The telephone lines are also from China but some telephones in Ching Shwe Haw are from Burmese service providers. On August 24, internet and telephone connections were cut off,” a military observer on the China border Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

The internet connection is yet to be restored but some of the telephone connections have been restored now, according to residents.

Ethnic Kokang are generally Han Chinese and traditionally closer to China. The educated Kokang usually study in China and have their own websites. Coincidentally these websites became inaccessible as soon as clashes broke out.

Web censoring is rampant in China though surfers do not need to rely on the slow speed Burmese internet service.

A junta announcement said 31 soldiers of the Burmese Army and 11 from among Kokang troops were killed in the gun battles between Kokang and junta troops, which broke out on August 27. According to the Kokang, about 200 people including many civilians were killed.

The junta’s mouthpiece the ‘New Light of Myanmar’ reported that over 30,000 Kokang civilians fled to neighbouring China. Now about half of them have returned to their homes.


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