The regime has imposed severe restrictions on food shipments to Chipwi to starve the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), but this also hurts civilians who cannot afford to bribe Burma Army (BA) soldiers to bring more rice to the township along the border with China in Kachin State.
“They allow each person to bring one bag of rice. Food has doubled or tripled here. If you don’t have a regular income, it’s really difficult to survive,” a civilian told KNG on condition of anonymity.
The man said the junta expects food to go to the KIA and that soldiers from the BA and the People’s Militia Force (PMF) check every vehicle that passes the Sadon Junction Gate, Sha Ngor Gate and Mang Weing checkpoints on the road from Myitkyina to Chipwi.
If someone wants to take over the limit, they have to pay a bribe of $2.40 per bag, which is about 70 kg, he explained. But the average person can’t afford to pay this. However, the family of BA, the PMF and the police are allowed to transport as much rice and other food items as they want between the two townships.
The cost of a bag of rice in Sawlaw and Chanmawkhon in Chipwi Township has recently increased from $34 to $50, where transport and telephone service are also poor.