The Tatmadaw returned over 10,000 acres it confiscated decades ago in southern Shan State. In total, the Burma Army took over 40,000 acres of land in Lawksawk township in 1962 to construct the Ba Htoo military region. This Wednesday it returned only a fourth of what it took nearly sixty years ago.
Lt Col Min Latt said the land the Army gave back is far from the remaining 30,000 acres, an area where it has constructed schools, a training ground and a shooting gallery. This land, which is located about 70 km north of Taunggyi, is being used for essential military training, Min Latt told SHAN, explaining why the Army wouldn’t also return it. “We have a military academy (for high ranking officers), an officer’s school and we’re providing artillery and armored vehicle training.”
He said the land that was returned was covered under the VFV (virgin, fallow and vacant land) Land Management Law.
More than 1,000 from Per Mel, Mer Thae, Phoung Taw, Magyi Kan, Loi Koe, Huay, and Myoma village-tract are the original tenants of the land that the Army returned in Lawksawk township.
A recent dispute over land in Ner Moon village in Lashio township started between farmers and the Burma Army’s Northern Military Command.
Under military rule, the Tatmadaw took thousands of acres of land, causing economic hardship for many farmers across Burma.
In a report on land confiscation in Burma, Human Rights Watch said during the dictatorship “government officials frequently confiscated land while providing limited or no notice and no compensation, often instantly depriving farmers of their only source of income and regular source of food.”