Kyone Pyaw Residents Refuse to Comply with Unlawful Demand from the Local Military

October 27, 2014

On October 9, 2014 local army base Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 586 demanded that thirty-six plantation owners in Kyone Pyaw Village, Ye Township, Mon State provide the base with rubber seedlings. The plantation owners were dissatisfied with the demands, and reported the event to Ye-based civil society groups and networks, according to a plantation owner who reported the incident to HURFOM, under the condition of anonymity.

“In the past, the adjutant of LIB No. 586 usually came to us and ordered us to [give the battalion] rubber seedlings which were ready to be planted; we always had to [provide] the seedlings. They [LIB No. 586] said the seedlings would be planted in the military-owned land to raise [money for] the local military welfare fund. But later, we [found out] that the local military base re-sold the seedlings [on the open market]; they just made extra money. So, at this time, we don’t want to [provide the battalion with] the well-soiled seedlings that are ready to be planted. We haven’t followed their orders. Since October 9th, there has been no more instruction from the military. We don’t know when they [will] demand [the seedlings again],” said a 54-year-old Sone Na Thar resident, who farms an 8.5 rubber plantation, on October 22nd.

According to the orders of a captain from the Vehicle Department of LIB No. 586, the number of rubber seedlings the thirty-six rubber plantation owners had to provide the military depended upon the size of each farmer’s plantation, confirmed 40-year-old Tuu Myaung resident Ko Phoe.

“In previous years, the adjutant demanded [the seedlings], [and] each plantation [owner] had to provide 50 to 100 seedlings. This time, the demand came from the Vehicle Department, but they haven’t said how many [seedlings] we have to pay. They [gave us verbal orders] that the number of seedlings [to be provided] would depend on the size of the plantation. We want to stop these kinds of unlawful demands that we have to provide [the military]. We can’t afford the payment [of the seedlings]. We reported the event to the appropriate bodies because it’s unfair,” stated Ko Phoe Cho.

“It was made clear that the rubber seedlings demanded by LIB No. 586 would be farmed in the vacant military-owned plantation, but last year, the military re-sold the demanded seedlings on the open market,” continued Ko Phoe Cho.

Ma Win Tain Hlour, a member of the Ye National League for Democracy (NLD), confirmed that the military demanded rubber seedlings from the thirty-six local plantation owners, and the owners, refusing to accept the demands, reported the even to relevant bodies, political parties, and civil society groups based in Ye.

Ye resident Ko Thet Oo stated that in this period of reform, local authorities, including the military, should stop engaging in extortion and committing such abuses. Local residents and activists will join together to fight such cases of abuse, and work must be done to minimize the gap of distrust between civilians and authorities, he said.

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