Army forces people to search for forest turmeric

News – Khonumthung News
WEDNESDAY, 20 JANUARY 2010 15:46

20 January 2010: Colonel Thwe Lin from the military camp in Paletwa Township, Chin state, of the Shin Let Wa based LIB 234, has ordered the local people to search the forest for turmeric from the first week of January.

“Local people have to procure at least 125 kilograms of turmeric by the end of January 2010 on the orders of Colonel Thwe Lin,” said a villager of Paite village, Paletwa Township.

The market price of turmeric for a kilogram is Kyat 20,000 but the military will purchase it for Kyat 9000 from the people.

“We heard that the army will purchase at Kyat 9000 a kilogram but we don’t believe it. They will confiscate all of it on some excuse. We want to purchase it, if it is available at Kyat 9000 per kilogram,” said a chairman of the Block Peace and Development Council.

“The forest turmeric can kill fish when dipped in water. It has medicinal value,” he added.

The local people are busy searching for turmeric afraid to flout the order of the military though they have lots of work in their fields.

“This is the season to tend our cultivated lands for new crops, but we have to do the army’s bidding first,” said a local in Shin Let Wa village.
Forest turmeric from Paletwa townships are purchased by traders from China and Japan.

Burmese army approaches within 10 miles of NMSP central headquarters

Wed 20 Jan 2010, Mehm oa, Weng Mon
Soldiers from a Burmese army battalion approached within 10 miles of the largest Mon political party’s central head quarters, warning only that they would be seeking ‘bandits’ in the territory.

On January 10th, soldiers from the Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 282, appeared in Suwanabumi village, at the Bee Ree river area, in territory administered by the New Mon State Party (NMSP).

“They [soldiers from Infantry LIB No. 282] arrived about 11 AM and left the way they came after staying about 3 hours in the village,” according to a villager from Suwanabumi village. “They came with about 25 soldiers in full uniform and with complete army kits.”

When the unit arrived, they were told the headman was not in the village. The soldiers then patrolled the interior of the village for 3 hrs, after which they left. Villagers said that the solders told them that the force had arrived in pursuit of bandits. However village residents reported to IMNA they never saw or encounter bandits entering or passing though their village.

The incursion of SPDC soldiers so far into NMSP territory is unusual as it violates conditions set in 1995 agreement ceasing hostilities between the NMSP and SPDC. In June 1995 the SPDC reached a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that approximated a ceasefire, reaching 13 key agreements with the Burmese army SPDC. Continue reading “Burmese army approaches within 10 miles of NMSP central headquarters”

Mae Hong Son border shoot out yields 40,000 yabaa pills

Chiang Rai arrest uncovers 14,000 yabaa pills.
Acting on a tip off on the plans of a drug smuggling ring to move quantities of yabaa into Thailand a special unit of the 7th Infantry, in a joint effort with the Special Task Force encountered 3 armed men near the village of Ban Hua Lang in Mae Hong Son during a patrol on January 10.The men opened fire on the task force when encountered and fled into the jungle, abandoning their backpack which contained 40,000 yabaa pills.
Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthon Thawonsathit and military personnel inspect the haul of 40, 000 yabaa pills discovered after a shoot out between drug traffickers and Army personnel.
It is believed that the uniformed men were members of the UWSA or the United Wa State Army. It was believed that at least one of the men was injured but that they crossed back over the border into Myanmar. The UWSA is a well equipped military force and widely believed to be the biggest single drug producing and trafficking group in South East Asia. While the UWSA stated last year to have taken a harder line on drug trafficking, large numbers of drugs are still found crossing the border. Last November the Task Force arrested 3 men carrying 300,000 yabaa tablets over the border from Myanmar.
Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthon Thawonsathit revealed that they have information that a major drug trafficker in Myanmar plans to send a large influx of drugs into Thailand so blockades and patrols have been stepped up in the border area and a raid by rangers is planned in an effort to combat the increased trafficking.
In Chiang Rai, The Pa Muang Task Force and Wiang Kaen police uncovered 14,000 yabaa pills hidden in a recycling truck after receiving a tip off. The truck was discovered travelling from Wiang Kaen to Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai on January 14. One man and three women were taken into custody and taken to Wiang Kaen Police station for further questioning.

ILO renews watchdog pact with Myanmar

Myanmar’s military government has renewed for a year an agreement allowing the U.N. to monitor complaints of forced labor, the state-controlled press reported Wednesday.

The move comes despite the U.N. International Labor Organization adopting a resolution in November saying it was “deeply concerned” that Myanmar still uses forced labor in infrastructure projects such as oil and gas pipelines and imprisons people who claim to have been used as laborers.

The renewal was signed Tuesday during a visit by ILO Executive Director Kari Tapiola at the administrative capital of Naypyitaw, the Myanmar-language Myanma Ahlin newspaper reported. It was the third renewal since the agreement was established in 2007.

Besides meeting government officials, Tapiola is due to meet labor activists, said a diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information.

The ILO office in Yangon was unable to confirm the signing because all responsible officials were out of town, said a receptionist who answered the phone.

The Geneva-based agency has been investigating Myanmar’s use of forced labor since 1998. The allegations have deepened international criticism of the regime over its suppression of democracy and rights abuses.

Myanmar says it is trying to eliminate forced labor and recognizes the right of its citizens to make complaints on the subject without fear of punishment. The ILO resolution acknowledged that the country was cooperating regarding complaints.

Governor of Tak Province Issues Warning to Humanitarian Workers

The governor of Tak Province warned Burmese humanitarian workers in Mae Sot on Tuesday that if they become involved in Burmese political affairs they could be deported, according to Burmese sources in Mae Sot.

Gov. Samart Loyfa told at a press conference on Tuesday, “There are humanitarian workers involved in politics and [they have] formed organizations illegally. We need to investigate. If we find any violations of law, we have to kick them out of the country.”

Burmese sources in Mae Sot said they believe the statement is a result of improved bilateral trade on the Thai-Burma border.

Meanwhile, Thailand has agreed with the Burmese regime to build another friendship bridge and create a second trade zone between Mae Sot and Myawaddy Township.

Moe Swe, the head of Mae Sot-based Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association, said, “Many civil society groups are now in Mae Sot. The Burmese government doesn’t like it, and it is worried about their activities.”

“But, the Thai government should understand that we help Thailand solve social problems with Burmese migrants such as education and health care,” he said.

According to the workers association, there are more than 20 humanitarian organizations that help Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot.

The Burmese government has asked Thailand to not allow its soil to be used for anti-Burma political or military activities. Continue reading “Governor of Tak Province Issues Warning to Humanitarian Workers”