A People’s Militia Force (PMF) is extorting money from people who passed through its checkpoint outside Wu Yang village in Kachin State. For the past month, it’s charging each vehicle up to 2,000 kyat ($1).
“It is really difficult to cross the PMF’s gate. For example, I live in upper Wu Yang and sometimes I work in Myitkyina. If I arrive at the checkpoint a little late in the afternoon, I get into trouble,” a resident told KNG on condition that his name not be published. The checkpoint is supposed to be open from 5am to 6pm he says, but the PMF, which is under the military regime, closes it an hour earlier every day.
“They should respect the peoples’ needs because they’re affecting our employment,” he says, asking for more time to get from Waingmaw Township, where the village is located, to the capital of Kachin State.
Another man, who also asked that his name not be mentioned, said soldiers had threatened him for returning from his farm a little late. “We are concerned for our safety and believe that the presence of this gate next to our village poses unnecessary danger.”
The residents have already sent two letters to the regime’s Kachin State chairperson asking for the removal of the checkpoint, but they have not yet received a response.
The Kachin Independence Army attacked the checkpoint in early November several days after the PMF set it up.