Jury Chai : According to residents, Burmese checkpoint authorities are conducting rigorous checks and searches of individuals traveling in and out of Ye town, in Southern Mon State’s Ye Township.
According to a traveler who recently made a trip to Southern Ye Township, the travelers were required to show their identification cards at the two checkpoints, and questioned about their travel destinations.
Moreover, the checkpoint authorities also conducted inspections of the contents of vehicles they considered “suspicious”, before allowing the cars and their passengers to proceed on their journeys.
According to him, “especially [conducting the investigation] are soldiers and traffic policemen. Before they didn’t check the travelers from vehicles and supplies from vehicles. And [travelers and supplies are] more investigated currently”.
Sources from the area explained that previously, authorities at the Ye town checkpoints typically allowed passengers and vehicles to pass with only minimal investigation, but since the beginning of September 2010 have only allowed vehicles to pass after investigating all passengers.
The traveler to southern Ye Township claimed that the increased investigations have made drivers passing through Ye town unwilling to transport more than three bags of rice; carrying large amounts of foodstuffs or other supplies reportedly draws particular suspicion from checkpoint police, who have accused drivers of transporting rations to Mon splinter groups. This traveler also reported that male passenger we more rigorously checked that female travelers.
Sources in Ye have also reported that Burmese battalions have set up more patrol gates along the road in southern Ye Township.
According to a Ye resident, the newly stringent travel investigations are a result of increased tensions between the Burmese government and the New Mon State Party (NMSP).
“We didn’t pass [chose not to] through Tha-da-phyu (white bridge) check point [outside Ye town] because of more checking. We went to Chaung taung bridge [instead],” he reported.
Party sources reported that the Burmese government has been monitoring the movements of NMSP members in particular since September 6th, following the NMSP’s refusal to surrender it’s armed wing to the Burmese government on September 1st.
A traveler to Three Pagodas Pass Township, Karen State “Recently the [travelers] on the road from Myawaddy to Moulmein, and Thanphyuzayart to Three Pagoda Pass had their bags checked, and the authorities asked them if they come from the party [NMSP].”
A source close to the party explained that even though the tensions between the NMSP and the SPDC have yet to result in outright fighting, Burmese authorities all over Mon State are still making a point of asking whether party members are traveling in the vehicles they have stopped at checkpoints.