Military uses checkpoint bombing to crack down on strategic town of Madaya

Tin Nwe Win, a mother of two young girls, is anxious for her husband who has now been bedridden for several days. He has a problem with his lungs, she says, and is showing signs of tuberculosis.

Although she can send her husband for a medical check-up in a private hospital in downtown Mandalay—just 38 km from Bo Kone village in Madaya township where the couple live—she is reluctant to do so, not even daring to make the short trip to downtown Madaya to buy medicines after security was tightened at the now notorious Mandalay-Myitkyina Highway checkpoint.

“This morning, I was stopped and checked by security forces at the gate for 15 minutes. Soldiers forced me to show my shopping card, my COVID-19 vaccination certificates, and even told me that I must bring my motorcycle registration when I next cross into the town,” she told DVB.

Like her, scores of people riding motorcycles, bicycles, and private vehicles had been stopped by soldiers; a long tailback had formed by the checkpoint where each was being interrogated: “Where are you travelling from? What are your reasons for visiting the town?”

Lying along the Mandalay-Myitkyina highway—a key strategic route to Khin-U, Shwebo, and other Sagaing Region flashpoints—Madaya is an example of where protests have given way to guerrilla operations as the military looks to encircle populations living within the new northwestern theatre of war.

Maw Maw, a young woman who commutes daily from Kyauktada village to Madaya Myoma market, said that, yesterday morning, soldiers guarding the checkpoint verbally abused as she was travelling to work at a beauty salon.

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