Three Pagodas Pass – Burmese military border guards in the Three Pagodas Pass area have been demanding both cash payments and the use of civilian vehicles to transport supplies in Mon and Karen State, according to local sources.
Vehicle owners are troubled over being stopped in areas where the ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) are planning guerrilla attacks against the ruling military regime since December, 2010.
“I saw a passenger car pulled over to the side with passengers getting out and bringing their belongings with them,” says a local witness.
“No cars are leaving Three Pagodas Pass town while the town is being occupied by soldiers in uniform.”
The drivers of the vehicles are forced to drive the car and risk their lives during ambush attacks. The vehicles being used by the military can be blown up by landmines and damaged by stray bullets when the Karen rebels open fire on the Burmese military.
“No compensation will be paid if you get wounded and your vehicle will be damaged by any attack,” says the Mon source. He added that most of the passenger vehicles are owned by Mon nationals.
According to the source from the town, the military tried to collect thirty passenger cars for carrying military rations and office equipment for the Three Pagodas Pass sub-town office during the winter season after the four month raining season.