Portering, forced labor and requisitioning of motor vehicles have not ceased in rural townships like Namtu, 39 miles northwest of Lashio, the biggest city in northern Shan State, despite the change in governments, according to locals.
A copy of the typed monthly official plan in Burmese by Namtu-based Light Infantry Battalion 324 from March to July 2011 shows which vehicle was required to turn up at the battalion post for service on the dates fixed for it. “Failure to turn up means a K 30,000 ($ 40) fine,” said a 4-wheel drive owner. “If your car is broken while serving the army, it’s also up to you to repair it and pay for it.”
During normal weather and road conditions, tolajis (farm tractors) and 4-wheel drives are used. But during adverse conditions, triple axles are used. There are only 2 triple axles in Namtu.
Since the fighting against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) began in June, commandeering of civilian trucks have become more commonplace, they say.
Sai Aung Hla, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) was elected for the People’s Assembly (Lower House) and U Zaw Oo Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Nang Kham Aye, SNDP, were elected for the State Assembly. The USDP won both statewide and nationwide. “They haven’t been able to do much to help us,” said a source.
Article 382 of the 2008 constitution says fundamental rights of citizens can be “restricted or revoked” by the defense services personnel responsible to carry out peace and security.