By Kantarawaddy Times
Regime soldiers are forcing farmers of Pekon Township to obtain permission before entering their farms in the area heavily affected by fighting with resistance groups in southern Shan State along the border with Karenni State.
Despite the risk, some of the farmers want to work as they have little choice when it comes to money, but now they cannot go unless the Burma army allows it, said one man on condition of anonymity. “For example, a farmer asks the soldiers, can I spray pesticides on my paddy field on such and such a day, and if they say yes, they can do it.” He said that no one was able to do much work.
Thousands of civilians have been displaced in Mobye village tract. Those trying to reach their farms could be killed by artillery fire from the junta’s Light Infantry Battalion 442, which is shelling the countryside from Mobye town.
“They go because they’re worried about their food for next year. If they don’t work on their farm this year, they’ll definitely face hardships,” the man said. Since May, fighting has increased in the region and at least one farmer has died from junta shelling.
Civilians depend on agriculture for their “survival”, said a Karenni Nationalities Defence Force information officer, and “they must tell the Burma army not to shell the area indiscriminately with artillery”.
Meanwhile, townsfolk have been unable to return due the presence of the regime soldiers.
“Locals are afraid to return to their homes because the dogs (soldiers) are still in Mobye town, firing indiscriminately at people trying to come back,” said an officer from Battalion 1 of the Mobye People’s Defence Force. As junta troops are still stationed in Si Kar, Nyaung Waing and other wards in the besieged town, he advises people not to come home for now.
Although the last fighting took place at least a week ago, all groups are still in place and more clashes are expected soon.