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Tuesday, Sep 16th

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Thousands of acres seized by local naval unit in Yebyu Township

According to community residents, the local Mawrawaddy Navy unit and Land Record Department seized about 8,000 acres of farmland and plantation plots in Yebyu Township, Tanintharyi Division.

24-Army-Land-300x187For years, area residents have been cultivating rubber, betel nut, cashew nut, and rice on land stretching across fifteen villages of Yebyu Township, including Mi-chaung-ai, Pyin-gyi, Sin-gu, Lae-gyi, Hmaw-gyi, Minn-thar and Sein-bone.

On August 15th, officials from the Forest Department, Myanmar Perennial Crops Enterprise, and the Yebyu Township Land Record Department and Administrative Office came to Sin-gu village to survey and record details about the local land.

A Sin-gu plantation owner said, “According to the statistics collected by the township [authorities], about two thousand acres of land [in Sin-gu] has been labeled as navy land. The authorities collected information from 203 Sin-gu farmers and plantation owners. They recorded their names, how many acres of land he/she has, and [the type of land], for example, a betel nut plantation.”

According to a staff member at the administrative office, Q-2-rank Major Naing Win of the Mawrawaddy Navy Command told village administrative officials that the naval unit had applied to the resident Land Record Department in 1997, and that the contested plots belong to the navy.

Similarly, naval units previously seized land tracts on Kalar Gote and Kywe Thone Nyi Ma Islands. In 2011, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) documented the confiscation without compensation of nearly 3,000 acres on Kywe Thon Nyi Ma Island in their report, “Burma’s Navy Attacks Civilians’ Livelihood.”

Also, Nai Soe Myint, a central executive member of the Mon Democracy Party, said, “Before 2000, farmland and plantation plots on Kalar Gote Island were officially recorded as the land of Mawrawaddy Navy Unit. I have heard that locals are worrying about whether they can stay there or will have to flee their land.”

There have been allegations that the navy seized land on Kalar Gote Island, located in Ye Township, Mon State, for a deep-sea port project, but official reports have yet to confirm or deny the claim.

Under military rule, state authorities seized large swaths of land in various parts of Burma. Since President Thein Sein took office in March 2011, the media has continued reporting on issues of land confiscation.