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 Naga Self-Administered Zone on the border with India is poor and isolated, but a new bridge and upgraded roads carry promises of development. Meanwhile, its administrative autonomy is likely to remain limited.
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.