60 arrested over Kachin dam bombs

A major police operation in Burma’s northernmost Kachin state netted around 60 people last night suspected to have been involved in the bombing of the Myitsone dam in April.

A resident of Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state, told DVB that the operation involved police, ward officials and anti-narcotics agents, as well as the tactical operations commander of the Burmese army’s Northern Command.

At least three bombs exploded at the controversial Myitsone dam site, killing three and injuring 20. The explosions occurred in the compounds of the Asia World Co. Ltd, which is building the dam and all three victims were company employees. The compound is located 18 miles north of Myitkyina.

Posters were placed around Myitkyina displaying sketches of the suspects and announcing rewards for their capture.

“Last night alone, about 60 people were taken into custody from [Kya Zu] ward. They usually surround an area about midnight before the arrests take place,” said the resident.

“Some of the detainees were freed later. The arrests are not the same for different wards; some names on their lists remain in prison. Their main objective is to suppress the people.”

He added that authorities were “taking advantage of the bombings” to arrest people who had protested the construction of the dam which is likely to displace up to 10,000 people and has been strongly opposed by Kachin locals.

The project is being funded in part by the Chinese state-owned China Power Investment Corporation and China Southern Power Grid Corporation (CSG).

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