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A local government plan is underway in northern Shan State to restore those parts of Mongko that were destroyed in recent fighting between the Burmese army and the ethnic coalition known as Northern Alliance.
According to Muse district government administrator Kyaw Kyaw Tun, any government buildings destroyed in the clashes will be prioritised for restoration; meanwhile officials are compiling a list of damaged civilian and religious buildings.
He said it may take some time to repair the schools that were partially destroyed by artillery shelling during the two-week conflict, which ignited on 20 November when the four-member Northern Alliance – comprising the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and Arakan Army – launched synchronised attacks on Burmese military and police outposts in the Muse area. Thousands of civilians were compelled to flee their homes due to the fighting, with many taking refuge on the Chinese side of the border.
On 1 December, Burmese government units called in close air support and launched artillery assaults to defend its positions on the outskirts of Mongko when the Northern Alliance troops attacked.
The local government has now urged displaced Mongko residents to return, assuring them that the town is safe. It said that as of 11 December, 2,480 of the town’s 8,442 residents had returned to their homes. Many homes and shops left unattended were reportedly looted.
According to a Burmese border official, trade is slowing returning to normal at three checkpoints along the Burma-China border in Muse district.
The immigration official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that thousands of traders, truck drivers and commuters usually cross the border every day at Shwe Nandaw, Sinbyu and Manwaingyi checkpoints, however the number of Chinese travellers ground to a halt after hostilities flared three weeks ago.
Speaking to DVB yesterday, the Muse immigration officer said the number of Chinese visitors remains low as border authorities in the neighbouring country have restricted their citizens from crossing into Burma for safety and security reasons.