Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Myitsone dam project fuels abuses

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On 23 May, SPDC authorities in Myitkyina, Kachin State, arrested over 50 youth activists during a midnight crackdown. Most of those arrested were members of the Education and Economy Development for Youth, the youth-wing of the Kachin Independence Organization. SPDC authorities also detained the Kachin Nationals Consultative Assembly leader Labang Gam Awng for one day. 27 The police accused the activists of being involved in the 17 April bomb blasts near the Myitsone dam construction site. 28 However, locals believed the 17 April explosions might have been a junta ploy to speed up the forced relocation of villagers near the Myitsone dam construction site. 29 In May, the regime stepped up relocation efforts in the Myitsone dam project area:
• 1 May: SPDC local authorities ordered over 1,000 villagers from Myitkyina and Waingmaw
Townships to help local militia to demolish houses of the about 1,100 residents of Tang Hpre
Village. 30
• 28 May: It was reported that SPDC authorities, USDA members, and SPDC Army soldiers forcibly
relocated all 63 households (about 150 people) in Mazup Village. 31
• Since April: SPDC Army soldiers from IB 138 forcibly relocated eight villages near Machyangbaw Town. 32

SPDC recruits local militias for BGF

In May, the SPDC moved to form Border Guard Forces (BGF) from smaller pro-junta militia groups as the key ethnic ceasefire groups continued to reject the SPDC’s ultimatum. 33 On 18 May, SPDC Army Military Affairs Security Chief Lt Gen Ye Myint reached an agreement with militia leaders in Tachilek, Shan State, to form BGFs from several small militia groups comprised of ethnic Lahu, Akha and Shan from villages nearby. 34 On 21-23 May, representatives from the Karen Nation Union (KNU), the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), and the Chin National Front (CNF) met in Thailand and reached an agreement to assist one another if the SPDC launched an attack against any of them. 35
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