Monday, July 24, 2017

Kokang rebel attack blacks out Laukkai

A bomb attack by Kokang insurgents has left the main town of Laukkai without electricity and main water supplies for the past four days, and caused the usual curfew to be brought forward to 6pm, local officials said yesterday.

Insurgents on December 17 blew up an electricity pylon near Yan Lon Kyine village which lies between Laukkai and the nearby border crossing with China, an official of the General Administration Department said.

“The town will get power back in two or three days,” the official said.

“We are working together to return the situation to normal,’’ said U Maung Maung, the Myanmar interpreter for U Bae Saut Chain, head of the Kokang Self-Administered Zone government.

The central government ended nine months of martial law in the Kokang region on November 17 after an intense campaign against ethnic Chinese rebels of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. “The situation has since returned to normal and the rule of law has been restored in the zone,” a presidential decree said at the time.

However, the insurgents, believed by the Tatmadaw to receive support from inside China, have mounted occasional attacks since then in or close to Laukkai while more intense fighting is reported to have continued in remote areas.

A security officer, who asked not to be named, described the situation in Laukkai yesterday as “calm and normal”, but he said there had been frequent fighting in the town of Mawhtike.

Residents in Laukkai had been told to keep off the streets after 6pm, two hours earlier than usual, he said.