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Junta Relocates Burmese Central Government to Jungle Compound

The ruling military junta of Burma is moving the country’s governing headquarters to a remote compound in the northern jungle. Media reports in mid-November confirmed that civil servants in the capital city, Yangon (Rangoon), are rapidly being transferred to a site called Pyinmanaa that permits limited unsupervised communication with or from the outside world.

The move has been planned for some time with construction on the compound having begun as long as twelve months ago, according to BBC News. Among the nine ministries (out of 32) that have already been relocated are those for Foreign Affairs, Home, Commerce, Health, Transport and Communications.

Analysts indicate several possible reasons for the move, but none are seen as definitive. A statement from the government announcing the move, a day after it officially began, suggested that Pyinmanaa’s ‘central location’ was its attraction. Many commentators speculate that members of the junta sought relocation to a remote site because Yangon’s location is vulnerable to a feared invasion by the United States. Others indicate the junta’s desire to closely monitor uncertain border regions and dissatisfied ethnic groups in the Pyinmanaa area. Exiled Burmese and other southeast Asian commentators in particular have suggested that government leaders have been acting on advice to relocate by astrologers, a practice honored by precolonial Burmese kings in times of trouble.

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