Burmese Navy orders shooting of any person on its confiscated lands

Kyauk Pru: The Danyawady Naval Regional Command Headquarters has passed an order to shoot and arrest any people or cattle, who or which traverses its confiscated lands in Kalantae Village Group in Kyaukpru Township in western Burma’s Arakan State, said local villagers.

The regional naval headquarters is based in Thitpoketaung in Kyaukpru Township and is said to have forcibly confiscated nearly 100 acres of common grazing lands in Kalantae Village Group in the township since ten years back, and now is imposing tight restrictions on the movement across those lands.

“The lands were the common grazing grounds called Ahtaktaw Grazing Grounds in our Kalantae Village Group. They were forcibly confiscated by the Danyawady Naval Station ten years ago, and now some of them are being fenced and cultivating peanuts while the other fertile ones are used for growing cashew trees. As the [political] situation is developing in the country at present, the villagers have demanded the return of those lands, and the naval force has imposed these restrictions on the villagers”, said a village elder on condition of anonymity.

The elder said the villagers are now facing more trouble with the naval restrictions as they have been suffering from shortage of grazing grounds for their cattle since their common grounds were forcibly confiscated by the navy.

“We used to feed our cattle in those grazing grounds before the confiscation by the naval force. Even after the confiscation, we were allowed to herd our cattle in those grounds. Now no villager or cattle are allowed to even cross through those grounds and the restriction has caused a great trouble to all of us because the cattle are necessary to us and there is now no ground to raise and herd our cattle around our village group”, said the elder.

He said that the villagers are also troubled with their travels from one village to another in the group as their crossing through those grazing lands has been restricted by the navy as well.

A youth from the village group also said there are now so many problems being perpetuated and created by the naval and other armed forces besides the forcible land confiscations and arbitrary restrictions in their villages.

“While the villagers are unhappy with the confiscation of their lands and restrictions by the naval force, the soldiers are coming into our villages and are commiting sexual harassments on the women. Dissatisfaction with the armed forces isow growing amongst the young men in our villages because they are doing whatever they like in our villages because they are from the armed forces. Our elders have already complained of them to their higher authorities to avoid problems with them, but the authorities have not taken any action to control them yet”, said the youth.

It is learnt that the Danyawady Naval Regional Command Headquarters has also confiscated about 400 acres of farmlands that were owned by the 43 farmers in Sitetaw Village in Kyaukpru Township on the guise of building a naval base, but have been leasing the lands back to the farmers for a rent of paddy 12 baskets per acre in a year.