MAC: Mines and Communities

Burmese PM in fresh land scam for gold mining in Kachin State

Published by MAC on 2009-05-11
Source: Kachin News Group (2009-05-14)

The Burmese ruling junta's Prime Minister General Thein Sein has become involved in a fresh civilian-owned land confiscation scam for gold mines in Burma's northern Kachin State, said local sources.

A large gold mining company, which is yet to be identified, owned by relatives of the junta's PM General Then Sein is mining gold in land confiscated from civilians in Nam San Yang village, located between Myitkyina-Bhamo Highway in Waingmaw Township east of Kachin State, said local land owners.

Touting that they had been authorized by the country's capital Naypyitaw, Burmese Army soldiers seized hundreds of acres of rice-paddy fields, orange plantation and bamboo groves as a government-owned land from village's near the river called Nam San Hka early last March, said residents of Nam San Yang.

Before the soldiers confiscated rice-paddy fields along Nam San Hka, farmers were promised reasonable cash compensation for losing paddy fields, said farmers.

But so far farmers, owners of orange plantation and bamboo groves have not got compensation from the Burmese Army authorities. They are now in a 'hopeless condition'. The military authorities told them that the confiscation was directly authorized by the junta's headquarters Naypyitaw, according to villagers.

Now the confiscated orange plantations and bamboo groves are being cleared with bulldozers and shovel machines for mining gold. The security is being provided by Burmese Army soldiers, said eyewitnesses.

A Kachin Independence Army (KIA) officer in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border also told KNG today, "The Burmese Army is confiscating land in Nam San Yang for gold mining. The idea is to generate as much personal income as possible before the ensuing 2010 general elections in the country."

According to villagers of Nam San Yang, the village houses over 300 families who are mainly ethnic Kachins and Shans. They rely on rice-paddy fields, crop and fruit plantation for survival for long periods.

Now they are unable to stop confiscation of their land and are angry and frustrated but cannot do anything about it. They have no expertise of other business except rice cultivation, crop and fruit plantation, said a local farmer.

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