Muse residents protest People’s Militia plans to tax pier users

Some 300 local residents staged a demonstration in Muse Township on Tuesday to protest a plan by the Namkham-based Myoma People’s Militia to take control of a pier at a river crossing in the village of Nong Kho.

Some 300 Nong Kho residents gathered at the banks of Mao River (Shweli River) in Muse Township to protest against the Myoma People’s Militia plans to tax pier users

According to village headman Sai Soi, about 300 residents gathered in Nong Kho, which lies between the strategic towns of Muse and Namkham in northern Shan State, to voice their opposition to the militia’s moves to supervise the pier on the Mao River also known as Shweli River.

“This jetty has been used for many generations. It was built about 100 years ago with wood,” he said. “Now the Myoma People’s Militia group is planning to rebuild it from metal and then collect taxes from those who cross the river [by boat].”

Sai Soi said that the militia didn’t discuss details with local people, but it was clear that they intended to move their men in when construction is complete.

“They used guns to scare us when they started rebuilding the pier,” he added. “That’s why we have come out to protest. We strongly disagree with their operations. We just want things to stay as they are.”

On April 4, ten representatives from Nong Kho met with leaders of the Myoma People’s Militia. Sai Soi said the villagers requested that no taxes be collected from local people at the pier. However, the militia group reportedly replied that they had invested much in the pier, so they had to collect taxes to repay that.

The Myoma People Militia is a splinter group from its former allies the Panhsay Militia, led by Lao Sam. Both are backed by the Burmese army.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)