Sunday, 17 November 2019

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Army expands outposts near Indian border


Dhaka (Mizzima) – The Burmese junta’s Western Command is building 15 army outposts using forced labour by villagers who have to bring their own food to the projects near the Indo-Burman border, army sources and local residents have said. 

In what is seen as a plan of “area domination”, eight new army outposts were being built in Paletwa Township, Chin State, near the triangular India-Bangladesh-Burma border region, and seven outposts in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships in Arakan (Rakhine) State. The outposts had been under construction since the end of last month, an army source said.  

The Paletwa outposts would be in Myeikwa, Hnonebuu, Chinletwa, Zeditaung, Laoshine, Labawa, Tarungaing and Toepee villages, he said, adding that all would comprise a large hall-type hut and between nine and 15 smaller huts, each of which would lodge between 20 and 25 soldiers. 

A local resident said the army was using forced labour to build the outposts, which were to be completed by the end of this month.  

“We have to bring our own meal packets. Even the women have to go there [outpost sites] if they have no male family members in their households to perform this forced labour,” a villager from Chinletwa told Mizzima at the border. “We have to work there, felling trees and bamboo, building huts and digging earth.” 

In the border triangle area, the anti-junta opposition groups such as the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and the Chin National Front (CNF), and the anti-Indian groups such as the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, all have armed wings.  

The ALP’s militia clashed with junta troops last February. Both it and the CNF have no more than 1,000 troops between them, facing off against 10,000 troops army under the Western Command, based in Ann Township and responsible for military operations and security in Rakhine and Paletwa towns in Chin State.

The region however has never been completely brought under Burmese Army control because of the militias.

 

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