Burma Army troops have planted eucalyptus trees on farmland confiscated by the military in Namzang Township, southern Shan State, angering farmers who demand it be returned to them.
The Kholam-based Infantry Battalion (IB) 66 seized 1,353 acres of land owned by 64 farmers on June 9, then brought criminal charges against 47 of the farmers in a Namzang court.
Farmer Hla Tun is among those being prosecuted.
“Some farmers want to destroy [the military’s] trees there. I think they are trying to make us angry so that we will try to destroy their plants. Then we will be charged with another legal case,” he told SHAN.
The farmers have reported the actions to respective government departments and village heads. They worked on the land for more than 40 years, but say that they were forced to sign a document through the Namzang Township General Administration Department office stating that the land belonged to the military.
“We are facing trial. The court hearing will be on June 24. We are going to send a letter to the township departments. If it doesn’t work, we will send a letter to Naypyidaw,” farmer Hla Tun told SHAN.
The Burma Army is also facing a land dispute with farmers from five villages in Hsihseng Township in southern Shan State—more than 70 locals are facing prosecution by the military for “trespassing” on their confiscated land.