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HomeAsiaThousands flee troop deployment near Chinese-run copper mine in Myanmar

Thousands flee troop deployment near Chinese-run copper mine in Myanmar

'Quick read' news summary

More than 6,000 residents from nine villages near a Chinese-operated copper mine in northwestern Myanmar’s Sagaing region fled their homes as troops loyal to the ruling military junta entered their communities on Wednesday, locals said.

The exodus occurred the same day as the United Nations Security Council called for the release of former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in its first-ever resolution on the political crisis in the country wracked by instability and violence since the military deposed her and other elected leaders in a February 2021 coup.

The soldiers, who provide security for China’s state-owned Wanbao Co., which owns the nearby Letpadaung copper mine in Salingyi township, entered the villages situated next to the Pathein-Monywa Highway in Salingyi and adjacent Yinmarbin township at about 4 a.m., they said.

The mine is a joint venture between Wanbao and the military-owned Myanmar Economic Holding Limited company. Following the military’s coup, employees walked off the job to join the anti-junta Civil Disobedience Movement, reducing the mine’s operating capacity by more than 80%.

Earlier this year, locals reported that workers were being recalled to the mine to restart operations after more than a year of downtime, prompting threats of an attack from anti-junta People’s Defense Force militias.

In response, the junta pledged to defend the mine, seen as a key source of revenue for the military regime.

Though the soldiers left in the afternoon, residents of Won Taw, Done Taw and Kan Kone villages in Salingyi township, and Aung Moe, Mya Pin Si, Mya Shwe Si, Bein Nwe

More than 6,000 residents from nine villages near a Chinese-operated copper mine in northwestern Myanmar’s Sagaing region fled their homes as troops loyal to the ruling military junta entered their communities on Wednesday, locals said. The soldiers, who provide security for China’s state-owned Wanbao Co., which owns the nearby Letpadaung copper mine in Salingyi township, entered the villages situated next to the Pathein-Monywa Highway in Salingyi and adjacent Yinmarbin township at about 4 a.m., they said. In response, the junta pledged to defend the mine, seen as a key source of revenue for the military regime.

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