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SSA unhappy with plan to build road through territory

by admin last modified 2007-07-06 06:02

Reports of a Thai cement firm proposing to open the border for hauling lignite from neighboring Burma through its operating area have deeply upset the Shan State Army (SSA) South of Col Yawdserk, according to sources from the border:

No.05 - 7/2007
6 July 2007
War
 
SSA unhappy with plan to build road through territory
 
Reports of a Thai cement firm proposing to open the border for hauling lignite from neighboring Burma through its operating area have deeply upset the Shan State Army (SSA) South of Col Yawdserk, according to sources from the border:
 
The unidentified company had recently approached border authorities in Mae Fa Luang district, Chiangrai province, to broach on the subject of building a road from Yawngkha aka Nayao in Burma's Monghsat township. The village and its surrounding area is said to have a rich deposit of lignite coal.
 
"We've been offered a large sum of tax money for the right to pass through the area," said Lt-Col Gawnzuen, Commander of the SSA's Kengtung Force which is based just south of Nayao on the Thai-Burma border. "But we are not interested. What we are going to lose far outweighs what we are going to get from it."
 
The existence of the Shan resistance base will fade into insignificance after the completion of the road, which will be used by the Burma Army for its military purposes against the SSA: "Besides, it will draw other interest groups like flies into the area."
 
So far, Gawnzuen's Loi Gawwan base has been able to withstand offensives by the Burma Army to overrun it.
 
Fortunately for him, the Thai Army is also against the idea of building such a road when another road, though longer, is already in place. "We would be biting more than we can chew if we build the road," said a security officer who has been working along the border close to two decades. "The area is roamed by three armed groups who are opposed to each other: the Burma Army in the middle, the United Wa State Army in the west and the SSA in the east."
 
The projected road, about ten kilometers inside Burma, would pass through Ban Maejok, also inside Burma, and Hmong Kao Lang, inside Thailand. The Nayao-Tachilek road, built 8 years earlier, is 53-km.
 
Thailand's previous involvement in the area included its launching of the Yawngkha drug free project in 2001 which was called off in 2005 following the ouster of Gen Khin Nyunt, who had started the project together with MR Disnadda Diskul, CEO of the late Queen Mother's Doi Tung Development Foundation.

Tightening the noose