The regime has limited the transportation of rice and fuel to Hpakant to restrict the power of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has grown stronger since the coup. Since mid-October, the junta hasn’t allowed more than 100 trucks through the Nam Yar military checkpoint because they want to collect taxes in the areas in the township controlled by the Kachin group.
A local source, who requested anonymity, said the Burma Army (BA) wants to prevent the KIA from making money from lucrative gold mining in Nam Yar, Kap Maw, Hseng Hpra, Kawm Hsai Yang and Kyauk Ni villages, as well as jade mining near Hpakant town.
“They (BA) cannot enter the villages where mining is happening,” the man told KNG. Since the supply of food and petrol to these areas has been restricted, costs have increased. He said they want to prove their military prowess, but it is the people who are suffering now that the tankers have been forced to return and no one can buy petrol.
Villagers from Kap Maw, Hseng Hpra, Kawm Hsai Yang and Kyauk Ni were forced to travel to Nam Yar to get rice and fuel. According to another local source, who also requested anonymity, there has been no fuel in Hpakant, Lon Khin and Hseng Tawng since 24 October.
“This has nothing to do with the fact that the US dollar is strong compared to the Burmese kyat. They have blocked all the fuel trucks…All the petrol stations have been closed since yesterday.”
Available petrol sells for $2.40 per litre where in Mandalay the same amount costs only $1. Since July, there has also been no petrol in Myitkyina and Putao because the army has sealed off these townships where its fighting with the KIA.