The KNLA blew up the bridge between Bilin and Thaton, resulting in casualties; Maung Weik, an entrepreneur who worked with the ruling government, was released

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 29 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 30, 2023

The KNLA blew up the bridge between Bilin and Thaton, resulting in casualties; Maung Weik, an entrepreneur who worked with the ruling government, was released


On June 29, at 4:30 a.m., the Kyone Ate Bridge in Bilin Township, a bridge on the land communication route between Mon State, Tanintharyi Division, Karen State, and the central and upper parts of Myanmar, was detonated, and half of it was completely destroyed. At the time of the explosion, 2 cars that were passing by fell down on the broken bridge, and 1 person who was riding in the car was killed, according to the news reports. Again, the KNU armed groups attacked the road officer, police, general administrator and security who came to inspect the bridge, and reports said that a district road engineer was killed and around 20 people were injured.


This bridge is also a bridge on the Asian highway for transportation of goods by land and for communication between Karen State, Mon State and Tanintharyi with the rest of Myanmar, as well as a bridge on the road where Thai-Myanmar border trade goods are exported and imported.


The KNU/KNLA side has not yet made an official statement about the bridge explosion. In terms of the military, it is believed to be aimed at cutting off the shipment of troops and weapons by the military council, but 2 states and one region are dependent on the highway for road transportation. The Thai-Myanmar trade also uses this route to transport goods to Yangon and other regions, so the explosion of the bridge could have a big political and economic impact.


In recent weeks, KNU also demolished the Natthankwin Bridge built over the Sittaung River. Before the incident, a bridge on the Kawkareik-Myawaddy Asia Road was also partially destroyed. On the other hand, the military council has bulldozed Kyaikdon Road and the roads that connect the villages of Kawkareik Township, which are not major communication roads, to make it difficult for cars to pass through in recent weeks or months.


Although it is intended to cut off the enemy’s military supply, it also has social and economic impacts on the people living in that area.


Before 2012, the KNU group destroyed bridges and roads during the period when it resisted and attacked the military regimes. After the cease-fire agreement in 2012, these attacks stopped, and after the military coup, the bridge bombings started again like before 2012. Regarding the destruction of roads and bridges, KNU or the armed organizations of Karen State may have considered it as an inevitable action. Some of the new armed groups that emerged after 2021 may have decided not to destroy roads and bridges according to their military principles and procedures. For example, Maung Saungkha, who is the commander-in-chief of the Bamar People’s Liberation Army, abbreviated as BLPA, answered in a question that they have a policy not to destroy roads and bridges.


In addition to roads and bridges, there have been many attacks and explosions of trains, railways, and passenger cars during Myanmar’s armed conflict.


The next piece of news for today is that Maung Weik, an entrepreneur who used to do business in cooperation with the powerful governments, was released after 2 years and 4 months after being detained without prosecution by the military council after the coup. Maung Weik, who works in construction, trade, and housing development under his Sae Paing Company, was used as the next person to testify, for corruption charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, similar to Phyo Min Thein who was a member of the NLD Party’s Central Committee, and former Yangon Region Chief Minister. In the case of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the military council broadcast the testimony of Maung Weik that he gave 550,000 dollars to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the end of March 2021, and later testified in court similarly.


In other words, the military council used Maung Weik as a government witness and created a sense that he approached the government leaders in office at that time as a contributor to a party or foundation. Maung Weik’s Sae Paing Company mainly worked on the development of joint-venture housing with the government on vacant state-owned land in Yangon’s central townships and the construction and sale of condominiums that only rich people could afford. For Maung Weik, it is necessary to have a close relationship with the local government to get such housing development contracts and rights, and in order to win national tenders, he also cooperated with the union government in Nay Pyi Taw to do business.


During the NLD government’s construction of the Peace Pagoda in Nay Pyi Taw, I have noticed newspaper photos of Maung Weik near the President and State Counselor at the construction site since then, and it is believed that he deliberately contributed to the construction of the Peace Pagoda in order to be so close with them.


After the military coup, he accepted the threat or persuasion of the military council and testified as a prosecution witness in the corruption case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


It must be concluded that the military council has released the government witness after more than 2 years.