Thai firm wants road through rebel territory
Saraburi Coal Mining, a Thai firm that has recently been granted a concession by Naypyitaw to extract coal from Mongkok, 70km north of Chiangrai border, is applying for permission to build a road through the area operated by the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) South, according to a highly-placed security source.
27 December 2008
“Our initial response is that the road is not necessary as there is already one through Tachilek,” said the officer who requested anonymity. “There are also other issues involved including drug trafficking and deforestation.”
The SSA South’s Lt-Col Gawnzeun, Commander of the Kengtung Front based at Loi Gawwan, some 10 miles east of the proposed border pass, expressed surprise at the news but said, “I don’t suppose they (the Thai company) will go ahead with the road construction without informing us in advance.”
The proposed road, on completion, would be able to transport 5,000 tons of coal per day, according to the security source.
The Burma Army, since 1996, has made several unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the SSA from its mountain base, the last time in 2005.