Villagers taxed to provide for people’s militia in Kawzar Sub-Township.

November 26, 2009

HURFOM, Ye: Infantry Battalion (IB) no. 31, based in Khawza Sub-township, held a meeting in Khawza Sub-town regarding the establishment of a people’s militia for the region, in the second week of November 2009.

According to HURFOM’s field reporter, IB no. 31 informed the sub-township chairman that roughly 30 people were required to enlist in the new people’s militia and attend the yet-be-held Khawzar Sub-town training. The remaining Khawazar residents have been given the responsibility of providing for the militia’s needs, including guns and uniforms for the new recruits.

Reportedly, IB no. 31 divided Khawaza sub-town residents into three different tax brackets, based on their household incomes. The first, wealthiest bracket of villagers has been required to pay 50,000 kyat to the new militia’s fund, while the other two brackets must pay 30,000 kyat or 20,000 kyat respectively, depending on their households’ standard of living.

According to residents, event though Khawzar Sub-Township contains around 800 households in total, only 500 households are being required to pay the taxes; the remaining 300 household are connected to the Burmese Army or are employed by the Burmese government.

“We villagers don’t want to be involved in the militia, most of us prefer to give money to them instead; but some villagers, such as daily workers, have no choice. So, some of them prefer to join the militia because they have no money to offer [instead],” claimed a female Khawza resident.

According to HURFOM’s field reporter, roughly ten villagers villages near Khawzar Sub-town have also been required to send residents to the militia training in Khawzar Sub-town. It has yet to be confirmed if these villages are also being taxed to provide for militia members’ needs.

According to a resident of Toe Tat Ywa Thit village near Khawszar Sub-town, IB no. 31 has made repeated attempts over the past two or three years to establish similar people’s militias in the region, including in Toe Tat Ywa Thit village and in Hangan village; such attempts have always failed due to residents’ lack of participation.


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