Ethnic armed groups also guilty of land confiscation: The case of Kha Yone Gu

July 11, 2013

HURFOM: In recent months Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) has been tracking various cases of land confiscation, some of which took place years ago but have only now come to light. So far, published documentation has focussed on confiscations perpetrated by the Burmese military, local authorities and private companies working on government projects. However, field reporters have noted that numerous ethnic armed groups have also been involved in land seizures in Mon areas. Residents have accused ethnic armed groups of taking advantage of the on-going peace process to further their own interests, with the government giving groups involved in 2012 ceasefires the authority to take land from residents.

Today HURFOM reports on one particular series of land confiscations, carried out in the area of Kha Yon Guu in Mon State’s Kyiakmayaw Township.

Land confiscations in Kha Yon Guu

Reports from Kha Yone Gu concern the activities of a small Mon armed group, known both as the Mon Peace Group and the Nai Shoung group. Recently they are alleged to have imported illegal weapons, appeasing military forces by selling arms to the South Eastern Command. As a result, last year, having built good relations with the Burmese military, they sought permission to deploy troops to the Kha Yone Gu area. Their request was granted and troops were deployed to the central bus-stop area of Kha Yone Gu, led by Maj. Nai Bying.

Land confiscations began immediately. Nai Bying, who also holds a government appointed position of authority in the region, seized land from Kha Yone Gu residents to secure it for the troop’s use. The armed group are reported to have consulted the Kyaikmayaw Township Land Records Department to find the most suitable pieces of land. Farms were taken from residents of various villages, who reportedly possessed the paperwork to prove their ownership of the land. When landowners tried to resist seizures, showing this paperwork to armed group forces, they were threatened at gunpoint and intimidated into handing over their plantations. The confiscated land was fenced off and the group put up their flag to mark the territory as their own. Continue reading “Ethnic armed groups also guilty of land confiscation: The case of Kha Yone Gu”