By Takaloo, Pauktaw: Villagers in Pauktaw Township in western Burma’s Arakan State were allegedly forced by the police in-charge to work on emergency repairs to dams on a shrimp farm he owns a stake in after the dams were damaged in heavy rains on 3 July.
The earthen dams that had been constructed on the Ngawaswe Creek in Pauktaw Township for the shrimp farm were seriously damaged in the heavy rains and the villagers nearby had to work on rebuilding the dams without any payments, after being ordered to do so by the police in-charge in Arakan State, Ba Kyi, said one of the villagers who had to work on the dams.
“The police in-charge had ordered one head per household from the villages of Ngawaswe, Prein chaung, Hla Khine, Min Phauk, and Sethone Tan, must contribute labor for mending dams,” he said, adding that no villager was paid for their hard work.
Another villager said that most of the villagers are farmers who were already busy with their own paddy cultivation, and although they were unwilling to work on the dams, they had to for fear of punishment by the police official.
According to the villagers, the shrimp farming project in the area started in 2005, after Ngawaswe Creek, a tributary to the Kaladan River that villagers used to depend on, was blocked, and over 130 acres of common village grazing lands were confiscated.
The project is now owned by both Police In-Charge Ba Kyi and local shrimp trader U Kaung San Tun, at much expense to the locals, said villagers.
“Public Crisis is No Concern”: Western Commander
By Takaloo, Ponnakyunt: Commander of the Western Command in Burma’s Arakan State, Major General Thaung Aye, told local farmers recently that civilians’ suffering from famine or crisis is no concern as his priority is to save families of the army from that crisis, according to the farmers.
Thaung Aye’s statement came as a reply after the farmers from Ponnakyunt Township complained about the confiscation of land and forced labor by LIB-550 based in that area.
LIB-550 has confiscated 16 acres of common pastures owned by farmers in the villages of Tanswe, Mingan, and Kyawsan in Ponnakyunt Township on 2 July, and forced them to cultivated the land without and compensation, said the farmers.
“Your starvation or crisis is not a matter for me. You must obey and do whatever the army has ordered you to and my important commitment is to save the army from those crises. If you can not cultivated the land as the army ordered, each of your villages must give 50,000 kyat to the army,” one farmer stated that Commander Thaung Aye told them.
Commander Thaung Aye is the top authority in Arakan State from the SPDC military junta, which often spreads propaganda about its commitment to development for the public in all areas of Burma. Continue reading “Commander of the Western Command in Burma’s Arakan State, Major General Thaung Aye, told local farmers recently that civilians’ suffering from famine or crisis is no concern as his priority is to save families of the army from that crisis”
By: Sahi Ong, Kaowao
Jul 9, 2009
Some Mon veterans are planning to contest the upcoming general election, while urging their politicians to represent and fully support their electorates in order to avoid a power vacuum in their respective areas.
“It is important to contest as a single political party rather than doing it individually. Otherwise, we may not win enough seats in the 2010 election”, said Dr. Aung Moe, a veteran of New Mon State Party and Mon community leader based at the Three Pagodas Pass border town. He further said that the Mon people should form a moderate or liberal democratic party instead of an extreme nationalist party. Even though the SPDC has sponsored the general election, it is still under their control, it is time to compromise with the military regime for the benefit of the total population in Burma.
Dr. Aung Moe, a well-known national leader, has been involved in Mon community affairs for several years; first as a university student activist, then for many years as a soldier, and now as a community leader. He has published two articles recently about the importance of the election urging the people to decide on who will be the best leader to promote culture, social affairs, and community development. There will be about 80-90 seats to contest for the National Assembly (Ahmyotha Hluttaw), the People’s Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw) at the Federal, and State Parliament (Pyi-nae Hluttaw). Mon activists have been urged to set up a work plan, select the best candidates, raise fund and open central and local offices. The individuals will not be able to do their work until they form a new political party in accordance with the military government’s guidelines.
Colonel Kaorot of New Mon State Party recently told a Kaowao reporter that some veterans from the party will contest, but did not reveal their names.
From a community source in Moulmein, some activists and senior monks have been discussing on whether to contest, claiming that the Mon people need parliament members to act on their behalf. Continue reading “Election 2010: Mon veterans contest or not-Opinion/Analysis by Kaowao news”
Ragtag rebels vow to fight on in Myanmar
ON THE THAILAND-MYANMAR BORDER (AFP) – They prowl their jungle battleground in sneakers and have to steal their weapons, but Myanmar’s ethnic Karen rebels say they will never quit their struggle against the junta.
The ragtag Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) has been fighting Myanmar’s military government for 60 years — marking the country’s eastern border as the stage for one of the world’s longest running conflicts.
But a renewed crackdown by government forces in early June caused 4,000 of the mainly Christian Karen to flee to neighbouring Thailand, the largest group of refugees to cross in more than a decade, aid groups say.
The offensive comes as Myanmar’s generals try to stamp out the last of the more than two dozen ethnic uprisings that have riven the country since shortly after independence in time for elections due next year.
Despite the overwhelming firepower against them, the KNLA say they will not quit.
“We never give up,” said David Tharckabaw, a former soldier with the KNLA and now a leader of the political wing, the Karen National Union (KNU), based in a secret location on the Thai-Myanmar border.
“Yes, this is an asymmetric conflict, but overall we can still carry on.”
In video footage AFP received from the Democratic Voice of Burma, a multimedia agency run by Myanmar expatriates that uses the country’s former name, KNLA soldiers are seen fighting in rolled-up jeans and t-shirts. Continue reading “They prowl their jungle battleground in sneakers and have to steal their weapons, but Myanmar’s ethnic Karen rebels say they will never quit their struggle against the junta.”