Myanmar citizens are struggling with shortages of food and other necessities after 65 days of rule under the military junta, whose troops shake down cargo trucks at roadblocks and steal goods and cash from vehicles, stores, and homes, residents said Tuesday. The Feb. 1 coup that overthrew the country's elected government followed a year of deepening economic distress from a shutdown of economic activity to control the spread of the coronavirus. Myanmar is Southeast Asia's poorest country, with nominal per capita gross domestic product of about $1,300. Measures to fight the pandemic, which flared up this past winter, hit households and businesses, including those in the agricultural sector, which accounts for one-fifth of GDP and over half of employment. The coup and mass civil disobedience against the junta have further dampened economic activity. Military restrictions on transportation and security barriers set up on major roadways nationwide have choked the country's flow of food and other goods into cities and suburban areas. Soldiers stationed along major roadways often confiscate cargo and cash from drivers and motorcyclists in the Sagaing and Mandalay regions — two of Myanmar's largest population centers — merchants told RFA. Security forces are stopping all traffic that passes… Read full this story
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