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Farmers face eviction in Mandalay

Twenty-eight farmers near Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Division, are facing eviction after years of property battles, villagers say.

The Burmese military allegedly seized 18 acres of farmland in 2006 and 2007 to accommodate a housing project for elite military leaders. Villagers say that the military later forced them to buy back the land.

“The township authorities and a local military commander forced the villagers buy the land back from them, and we paid because we were afraid,” said Por Maung, one of the affected farmers in Nyung Ni village. “Now they are telling us to leave again as soon as possible.”

Por Maung said that authorities presented them with a final eviction notice, mandating that they leave before 15 September. Some of the villagers are also facing legal action for illegally occupying military land, he said.

The villagers said that they have been living on the disputed land since childhood, and they don’t know what they will do if forced to vacate.

“We have been living here since we were young,” Por Maung said. “Now we are all in our 60s and 70s. They took it, made us buy it back, and now they tell us that it’s military property.”

DVB was unable to verify the account with local authorities.

Property seizure was endemic during military rule, and many claims have surfaced since the reform process began in 2011. Farmers across Burma have begun speaking out against old cases of unfair acquisition, and in some cases have received compensation for their losses

A land reform package approved in early 2012 was followed by the establishment of a land investigation commission, charged with examining and mediating property disputes. The Ministry of Defence announced in July 2014 that they plan to return about 120,000 acres of disputed land, less than one quarter of the area that has been formally registered as seized property.


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