Karenni State Locals Worry Burma Army Plans to Re-Seize Land

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The military is reportedly demarcating seized land that it withdrew from five years ago in Hpruso Township.

By KANTARAWADDY TIMES

The Burma Army’s 14th Battalion has set reportedly up posts demarcating land it once seized—and withdrew from—in Karenni State’s Hpruso Township.

The land is located near Lawjar village and has already been registered with the community under what is known as Form 3, giving them uncontested claim to the land in question.

“These lands have already been withdrawn from [by the military] and officially transferred. Why are they coming and setting up army landmark posts again?” asked Thae Reh, who is a state parliamentarian for Hpruso’s Constituency 1. “Many people are asking why—is it for the land statistics department or for the army?”

The Burma Army’s 12th Battalion withdrew from nearly 200 acres of land in 2014—the land had originally been seized in 2019 by the military, as part of a 3,257 land grab aiming to build the Tatmadaw’s No. 14 Military Training School.

“They seized these lands but their fences didn’t cover all of the seized lands. So farmers grew crops on the land. They used to try to block us, but we don’t have any other choice, so we grew crops on it,” Ti Reh, a resident of Lawja village, told KT.

On the piece of land returned five years ago, in 2016 the local community built a school. However, landmarks were then again placed on the area in October 2018.

Now saying they were under pressure from the government, some villagers accepted compensation of 50,000 kyat (US$33) per acre for 680 acres of land seized between 2010 and 2011.

Farmers in Hpruso are now demanding that they get their land back, and are asking the military to withdraw from all seized land and have reported the case to the government’s land scrutiny committee.

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