After shopkeepers have stopped selling the regime’s beer products in Myitkyina as part of boycott organised by the Kachin Independence Army, Burma Army soldiers (BA) in civilian clothes have tightened security in the Kachin State capital.
According to a man who spoke to KNG on condition of anonymity, the regime’s forces are mainly targeting youths. He said they suspect that youths from the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) have come to the capital to help enforce the beer boycott. ”If a youth runs away when stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint, they’ll shoot him.”
At least 10 people have been arrested since the beginning of February, according to sources close to one of the PDFs.
According to another source, who didn’t want to be named, soldiers from BA are harassing shops for not selling army-produced beer and Mytel prepaid SIM cards. The man said that they ask shopkeepers why they don’t sell the products and at the same time try to get the names of those who’ve told them to stop selling them. Some business owners have simply replied that they no longer have these products in stock.
According to other reports, the armed forces have also been checking household registries to see if anyone who joined the anti-regime protests last spring has returned to their families to support the campaign in Myitkyina. Many youth fled to form the PDFs after the junta attacked them for peacefully protesting against the dictatorship.
A youth from the area helping with the boycott says it will only be successful if everyone stops buying these products.
The KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), announced the banning of Myanmar, Dagon and ABC beers in Myitkyina District at the beginning of January. ”These beers are produced by the BA…drinking these beers means you support the BA,” a KIO officer told KNG last month.