The leader of a Tatmadaw-controlled Border Guard Force in a remote region of Kachin State has emerged as a key player in the global rare earth trade, and has turned the territory under his de facto control into a mining hub at a high environmental cost.
New restrictions on the sale and distribution of oxygen to the public have made it harder to treat COVID-19 patients at home and social welfare groups have warned the rules could result in more preventable deaths.
The government and ethnic groups in revolt against it have run parallel education systems for decades. Mon educators now seek recognition for their mother tongue-based system, while the government slowly brings ethnic languages into classrooms.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.