Confiscation of land without compensation in Namzang and Kunhing townships, where the latest regional command “Middle East” is being set up since last month, has led to thousands of people fleeing to the Thai-Burma border, according to social workers on the border and sources inside.
The military has already seized some 6 square mile cultivated land north of Kholam, Namzang township alone, where farmers had been growing corn, peanuts and sesame. More than 20 paddy rice fields have also been impounded northwest of the town.
“They promised to pay compensations”, said a local source. “But so far we have yet to receive a single kyat.”
The Burma Army has also brought in more than 100 people from lower Burma both for cheap labor and for resettlement, “These plus reports that a recruitment drive for the Army is due to begin soon have driven hundreds of people, both old and young, to the border.”
A social worker in Chiangmai confirmed the report adding, “Last month there were only about 500 people coming from the area. Now February is just halfway through but more than 1,000 have arrived.”
The new regional command, 4th in Shan State and 14th in the whole country, is reportedly commanded by Brig Gen Myat Tun Oo. “It is the Burma Army’s answer to the Wa and Shan refusal to accept Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force (BGF) program,” said a Shan State Army officer.