‘This farmland has owners,’ locals wrote on signs placed on land seized by the Tatmadaw.
By KANTARAWADDY TIMES
Locals destroyed and took down concrete pillars constructed by the Burma Army to make a fence on farmland they confiscated nearly 30 years ago.
The land in question surrounds Dawmokalar village in Karenni State’s Loikaw Township and was seized by the Tatmadaw’s Light Infantry Battalion 250 and Artillery Battalion 356 in 1991.
“After first blaming each other, farmers are really angry with the soldiers. We have to protect our farmland. We have no choice,” Reh, a local farmer, told Kantarawaddy Times.
Farmers said that they repeatedly sent petition letters to government officials but never received a response.
“The [state] government has failed to negotiate between the farmers and the army. That’s why the farmers removed these concrete pillars set up by the army,” Reh explained. After taking down the pillars, farmers set up signs with the message “don’t invade this farmland.
This farmland has owners.”“If we cannot grow crops on our farmland, who is going to provide for us?” Reh said, pointing out that no one has offered to provide the dispossessed farmers with a salaried job to compensate them for their loss of livelihoods.
The military has confiscated an estimated 1,000 acres of farmland from 11 villages in Loikaw Township. Included in this is farmland from 11 villages in the Nwer Lawo and Chi Kel village tracts, and the communities of Myae Ni Kon and Dawmokalar.