By Larnun – The construction of a road between southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township and Zorinpwi in India’s Mizoram has been suspended following activities by the Arakan Army (AA) disrupting the project.
AA soldiers reportedly detained construction workers from the Su Htoo San Company and set fire to vehicles and materials.
“We temporarily stopped construction because tractors were set on fire. In addition, they arrested 13 company staff. They released five workers. Eight are still in their hands. We reported it to the respective authorities,” Chin State transportation minister Shui Htee O told Khonumthung.
The road is part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project. The AA is also accused of setting fire to materials on a cargo ship which were to be used in the construction of a bridge within the Kaladan project.
The Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team reported that about 100 AA troops arrested 11 men and two women in Twin King village on March 30, and that the individuals had been working on the construction of the road between Paletwa and Zorinpwi.
According to the AA forces, some of the individuals—eight of the men—are detained because they are suspected to have ties to the military.
“They are strangers. They are not local people. For security reasons, we have to investigate them. We released some workers because they are civilians,” Khaing Thukha, AA’s information department in-charge told Khonumthung. He went on to allege that some of the current detainees were former ranking military intelligence agents.
According to Khaing Thukha, the AA does not oppose the Kaladan development project, denied that AA forces set fire to construction machines and materials.
Chin State transportation minister Shui Htee O said that he does not yet know when road construction will resume, but that when they do, the defense ministry will “take security measures for three to five miles around the construction site.” The Kaladan Multi-Model Transit Transport Project aims to connect between Sittwe, in Rakhine State, to India through Paletwa Township. The objective of the project is to increase trade between India and Burma, and is backed by the Indian government.