Officers told locals ‘life was more important than corn’ after destroying their crops a week before the harvest.
Government forces destroyed local corn farms near an army camp in Manli village, Hsipaw Township, last week following an attack on the base by an unknown armed group.
Light Infantry Battalion 17 was ambushed by gunfire in the area last Thursday. One Tatmadaw soldier was allegedly killed and another was injured.
“After the shooting [on Thursday], soldiers destroyed at least five corn farms near the army camp—the owners didn’t realize it. The corn was a week away from ripening,” one corn farmer from Manli told SHAN. “The officers told us that life was more important than corn and that was why they were going to destroy all the cornfields.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said that villagers negotiated with the government battalion, saying they would harvest their corn over the weekend. The officers reportedly accepted this request.
However, on Friday, the villager reported that Manli’s corn farmers were forced to sign an agreement saying they accepted the destruction of their fields by the army.
Manli headman Lon Sai said that data pertaining to the damaged cornfields had been collected so that farmers could receive compensation.