Curfew Continues in Northern Myanmar’s Kokang Over Concerns About Armed Conflict
By ZARNI MANN
MANDALAY—A four-year-long curfew in Laukkai and Konkyan townships of Kokang Self-Administered Zone (SAZ) in northern Shan State was extended on Monday.
States of emergency and martial law have been in place in Kokang SAZ since Feb. 17, 2015, after armed clashes broke out between the Myanmar army and armed groups including the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
The deputy director of the General Administration Office of the Kokang SAZ, U Tun Kyaw Kyaw, signed the curfew extension on Monday under Section 144 of the Criminal Code. The curfew states that no one shall go outside their homes in Laukkai and Konkyan between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., that gatherings of five or more people are strictly prohibited and that anyone who breaks the curfew will face legal action.
“The curfew has been extended every two months since February 2015, after the armed conflict, but now the time limitation has been reduced,” said U Kyaw Ni Naing, a member of the Upper House of the Union Parliament for Laukkai constituency. Under the previous curfew, locals were restricted from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“We had requested through the [Union] parliament that the government terminate the curfew because stability and peace in our region have been restored,” said U Kyaw Ni Naing.
Kokang SAZ has largely been spared from the ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Brotherhood Alliance—the TNLA, the MNDAA and the Arakan Army (AA). U Kyaw Ni Naing said the government is concerned about stability in the region.
“There’s nothing happening [in Kokang] related to the current armed conflicts. However, the government might think the curfew still needs to be imposed in the region for more stability,” the parliamentarian said. “After two months, the curfew will be reviewed again and we will request that the [Union] government reduce it or maybe even call it off.”