Checkpoints on Myitkyina–Chipwi road causing food and fuel inflation in Chipwi

Residents of Chipwi town are facing food shortages and rapid price increases due to Burma army restrictions on transporting food and fuel on the Myitkyina–Chipwi road. Burma army soldiers have been strictly inspecting travelers and vehicles at military checkpoints on the road since late last year.

A local man, who lives in Chipwi, said that the Burma army has strictly inspected travelers and vehicles at checkpoints on Myitkyina – Chipwi road since late 2023.

“Soldiers demand money if they find rice bags on a vehicle. It’s really difficult to carry rice from Myitkyina to Chipwi,” the local man told KNG.

The local man said that soldiers demanded at least 5,000 Kyat for a rice bag. A bag of rice now costs 170,000 Kyat per bag in Chipwi town.

Fuel prices in Chipwi have risen quickly since last year. Fuel now costs around 5,500 Kyat per liter in Chipwi town. The price has doubled since year according to local people.

While some villagers are able to purchase foodstuffs from China, the majority of people in Chipwi town depend on food supply from Myitkyina.

“The majority of local people depend on food that comes from Myitkyina. Local people working at mining sites and the Chan Mung Hkong area are able to buy food from China. The Chinese authorities don’t allow Burmese people to enter into China but they allow food supply to pass through the border checkpoint,” another local man told KNG.

The two main Burma army checkpoints on the Myitkyina – Chipwi road are the Mang Weing checkpoint and the 13-kilometer checkpoint.

“It’s really difficult to pass the Mang Weing checkpoint. They do not allow us to carry more than two bags of rice. They strictly inspect vehicles at that checkpoint,” a local female, who lives in Chiwpi, told KNG about her experience.

She said that there can be up to 30 checkpoints on the Myitkyina–Chipwi road. This includes checkpoints set-up by the Border Guard Force, the People’s Militia Force, the Burma army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Local people in Chipwi town are typical not farmers, so they depend on importing rice and other food products from Myitkyina. Local people want the Burma army to allow people to carry rice freely from Myitkyina to Chipwi.

The Burma army has restricted food supply transportation from Myitkyina to Chipwi since 2012 when the KIA broke the ceasefire agreement and fought against the Burma army. Since October 2023, the Burma army has strengthened its restrictions on transporting food from Myitkyina to Chipwi.

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