Mawlamyine, June (9)

Drivers have unanimously said that they are concerned about their safety every day owing to fighting, gunfire and attacks on public highways more than two years after the military coup.

People used to be able to safely use public roads day and night for transporting goods and traveling, but after the coup, travel in most areas has become unsafe due to frequent shootings and mine attacks, as well as arson and killings.

Only in the last week of May, passenger buses and trucks were shot at least four times on the main public road Yangon- Mawlamyine, killing three drivers and passengers and injuring at least six others.

According to a lorry driver, traveling during the military council was not as safe as it used to be, and he was always worried and had to move cautiously, risking his life.

The drivers said that because the roads are no longer safe, the flow of goods has stopped, and they have to reduce the number of trips.

On the other hand, junta soldiers opened the gates for security concerns and demanded more money, and if the civilians did not pay, they faced arrests and gunshots.

A driver said, “The soldiers at the checkpoint beat up the travelers if they don’t get as much as they ask for. We are deeply insecure. Some townships have two gates. The average gate fee for a round trip between Mawlamyine and Mandalay is at least Ks 50,000”.

In addition, most drivers are unable to operate their vehicles regularly due to the security situation and shortage of goods. The drivers have stopped running because they are unable to make ends meet due to rising fuel prices and paying exorbitant gate fees.

Trucks and passenger buses are frequently hit by attacks and landmines, resulting in the deaths of drivers, their followers and passengers.

The two rival groups are accusing and blaming each other for the deaths of the individuals, and the drivers claim that the people are entangled between the two factions and have no idea who is to blame.

On the other hand, the regime forces have destroyed public roads in some regions and states, including Mon and Karen States, with excavators under the pretext of security around military compound.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo- CJ

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