The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has confiscated farmlands and homes belonging to villagers in the eastern Shan State township of Mong Pawk.
According to local sources, UWSA battalion 468, which is based in Mong Pawk, began seizing lands since early July in order to make way for a new town development.
“In an ethnic Lahu village named Jadawkhar, families from 32 households were evicted. Their lands were also seized, and they were forced to sign over their land [to the Wa army],” said local resident Aik Nub.
He said that no compensation was offered to the evicted families and that many face grave hardships with neither homes nor livelihoods.
Ar Pong, a UWSA battalion commander in Mong Pawk, told Shan Herald that the land confiscations were a necessary measure in order to build a new town in the eastern part of the township. He said about 3,000 acres of land would have to be cleared.
The UWSA is recognized as having control over the Wa self-administered region, which comprises the townships of Hopang, Mongma, Pangwai, Narpan, Mangman and its headquarters Panghsang. It is widely regarded as the strongest ethnic army in Burma, with a troop strength estimated at up to 30,000.
The group did not sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the then Thein Sein government in October 2015. However, it has signed bilateral accords with the government.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)