Local claims footage of Kachin poppy eradication is propaganda

Mar 16, 2009 (DVB), Television footage broadcast by the Kachin Independence Organisation that showed government soldiers and KIO ceasefire rebels destroying poppy fields in Laizar region was a set up, said a local resident.

The resident who watched the footage, shown by the KIO's own Laizar Broadcasting station in Naphaw, said that subtitles indicated that the fields apparently being destroyed had already been harvested for heroin production.

"The KIO had subtitles in the footage indicating that some nearby poppy fields that were not ready for harvesting were skipped by government soldiers," said the Laizar resident.

"The footage also included shots of some poppy farmers fleeing their fields as government and the KIO soldiers arrived, but it also included voices of the soldiers signalling them to start running."

The resident said it was likely the government wanted this footage of apparently active poppy fields in order to discredit the KIO.

"The KIO went for tit-for-tat back to them by including the subtitles underneath their footage," he said.

He added there were still a large number of poppy fields in nearby Phapaw area, which was previously controlled by the KIO and is now under the control of government troops.

The KIO headquarters in Laizar was unavailable for comments.

Reporting by ATK

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