Ferryboat banned, shop blinds removed in Paletwa by soldiers
13 January 2013: Security personnel from Burma Army and Police Forces used forcible measures against residents in Paletwa Township of Chin State as Brigadier General Ko Ko Naing, Commander of Western Command, arrived in the region.
An ‘unnamed’ sergeant from Light Infantry Battalion No. 378 ordered a local ferryboat carrying passengers bound for Paletwa from Shinletwa to stop travelling and shop owners to remove their blinds ahead of the arrival of the military commander.
“The security officer ordered the ferryboat, full of passengers waiting to go to Paletwa, to halt just to show off his authority over the local people,” said a Chin witness, who asked not to be named.
The villagers also said they were still ill-treated by the soldiers as well as security forces in much the same way they had previously, according to the Khumi Media Group.
A local eye-witness said some shops were ordered to get rid of their blinds or shop covers in Paletwa town, adding: “They were told that they could get their blinds or covers back on after the commander left.”
Brigadier General Ko Ko Naing arrived at Paletwa-based Light Infantry Battalion No. 289 around 4pm on 9 January before heading to Tarun-aing village the next day to meet with soldiers on duty.
Arriving at the Paletwa port last Friday, the commander held discussions with officials from government departments in Paletwa town and left for Ann town, Rakhine State on 12 January.
Brigadier General Ko Ko Naing has made trips to Chin State in recent months to discuss about regional security and development issues although details of his official journeys remain unknown.
In Novmber last year, Brig-Gen Ko Ko Naing together with Lt-Gen Hla Min of the Office of Commander-in-Chief (Army) visited Paletwa Township.
In a multimillion dollar Kaladan deal signed in 2008 with the Indian government, Burma agreed to provide security during the course of the project, which includes construction of 129km highway between Paletwa of Chin State and Mizoram State of India.
Sources confirmed around mid last year that two new military battalions, despite ceasefire with the Chin National Front (CNF), have been added into Chin State where there are a total of twelve battalions already based since the 1990s.
Peter Lawilu with Van Biak Thang