Tatmadaw to Expand Into Southern Shan State Farmland: Local Sources

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‘If we let them set up outposts on our farms, the Burma Army will own these land plots. Where are we going to work for our survival?’ said one Pekhon Township farmer.

By KANTARAWADDY TIMES

The Burma Army is making preparations to set up outposts to expand their territory into shifting agriculture land in southern Shan State’s Mobye village tract in Pekhon Township, according to area locals.

Officers from the Tatmadaw’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 422 met villagers in Mobye’s Thityar Htinshu Kon monastery in mid-January, and reportedly told community members of their plans to set up outposts in the area. The order to do so, they said, had come from above.

The announcement caused concern among locals that they will lose their land plots, which they rely on to grow crops. They say they therefore oppose any military expansion.

“If we let them set up outposts on our farms, the Burma Army will own these land plots. Where are we going to work for our survival?” Mobye farmer U Aung Myint told Kantarawaddy Times.  

Villagers said that the army officers told them that they could continue to work on the land, but that they must first report their intentions to LIB 422. At least 450 acres are affected by the move.

“If they occupy our land plots, the [Tatmadaw] slogan that the army and people are ‘one’ will be completely wrong. At least 75 percent of villagers are farmers and work on these lands. If they seize our land plots, it’s unfair,” local villager Ko Myo Nyunt said.

Under Burma’s previous government led by U Thein Sein, the Burma Army seized land plots near Pekhon Lake after soldiers set up outposts in an area that locals depended upon for shifting agriculture.

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