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Farmers in Minhla Township in Magwe Division are calling on the Burmese military to return some 300 acres of land they say was seized from them in 1992.
The farmland allegedly belonged to residents of Sissano village, but was confiscated by the military more than two decades ago for use at a nearby ordnance factory. The land was then leased back to the original owners in exchange for a cut of their annual sesame harvest yield.
“Previously the army charged us four baskets of sesame, but later the amount was increased to eight baskets,” a local farmer told DVB.
“Around 300 acres of land belonging to 40 local farmers was appropriated by the army to build a gun range. We are now ineligible for loans from the agricultural department when we work the land,” he added.
The farmers called on the military to return the land to the original owners.
“Some of the land is being used as a gun range, which is preventing rural development in the area. If the army allowed us to reclaim ownership, we would be delighted,” said one.
In December 2014, the Burmese army announced that it intended to return farmland that had been confiscated, mostly during the period of the previous ruling military junta.