Farms and lands of local villagers in Shan State South’s Kunhing Township, have been reportedly confiscated for the use of local authorities under the recently installed regional command, according to local sources.
Totally about 300 acres, originally owned by 40 people in Nawng Ngeun village have been seized. The village is situated northeast of Kali sub-township, Kunhing, on the way to the Shan State Army (SSA)’s 7th Brigade’s Headquarters that accepted the junta-run Border Guard Force (BGF) program.
One acre for uncultivated land was paid Kyat 100,000 (US$ 120) while cultivated land was paid Kyat 200,000 (US$240).
“We knew that it is little money but we could not complain. They [the junta] said they would take it free if we did not satisfy with the amount they pay us,” a local villager in Kali said.
Local villagers say the lands will be used for military expansion project. They further add that the newly installed “Middle East” regional command’s Headquarters (HQ) will be based at Kali, 8 miles east of Kunhing with the purpose of overseeing areas between Shan State South’s Taunggyi and Shan State East’s Kengtung. One of its battalions is a new formed Infantry Battalion (IB) # 151.
“They [junta authorities] are going to construct more roads from Kali, Hopang and Mongzang. They are currently constructing their [junta authorities] camps. They have started building their camps, trenches and bunkers since 10 January.”
The Burma Army’s camp constructions have been conducted in Kali and Mongzang of Monghsu township where the SSA North’s First Brigade that spurned the ruling junta’s demand to go along with the BGF program is active.
Earlier, there were reports that it [the new command’s HQ] would be based at Kholam, 33 miles southwest of Kunhing.
At present, the number of people in the areas has dramatically decreased after hearing that the new command’s HQ will be based at Kali. It is apparent that people, in fear of army recruitments, are trying to flee while others may plan to escape forced labor.
During these days, hundreds of local residents from Kali, Kunghin and Kesi have fled to the bordering town of Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai district, while many others have migrated to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province.
Previously, Kali was crowded of people and traders as they did not have to pay any taxes because the area was controlled by the SSA’s 7th Brigade-turned-junta’s militia force.