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Military Beefs Up Security Following KIA Attacks in Northern Burma

Shwe Nyaung Pyin

The military increased security at a highway checkpoint in Waingmaw town following a series of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) attacks on the Burma Army in Kachin State and Sagaing Region.

A source told KNG soldiers set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to check traveller’s phones at the Shwe Nyaung Pin military checkpoint on the Myitkyina – Bhamo road.

The soldiers become suspicious if someone says they didn’t bring their phone, said the person who recently crossed the checkpoint on their way to Myitkyina. “Using the mobile internet, soldiers closely examine each traveller’s Facebook account and all of the photos saved to their phone.”

Young men face more scrutiny than others, the source explained, especially if they have scratches or scars on their knees or elbows, which could indicate they attended military training. If a photo or logo related to KIA or its political arm, Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), is found in their possession or on their vehicle, the soldiers beat them up.

Last Friday, KIA and the newly formed People’s Defence Force (PDF) attacked the Burma Army in Sagaing Region. KIA Brigade 8 from Mohnyin Township, located in Kachin State, assisted the PDF chapters with attacks in their respective areas, resulting in over 20 Burma Army casualties, according to KIA’s estimates.

In late June, KIA attacked a checkpoint on the Irrawaddy Bridge (aka Bala Min Htin) connecting Myitkyina with Waingmaw.

After the military coup, authorities arrested bus drivers who drove from Myitkyina to Laiza, headquarters of the KIO.

Security has also increased at checkpoints on the Myitkyina – Putao road, where travellers must fill out their personal information before passing.

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