Kanbalu farmers demand land back

Farmers arrive at Kanbalu Township court (Photo-EMG)

Farmers say they are still waiting for their land to be returned by the military in Kanbalu, a township in Shwebo District, Sagaing Region, as officials from the area’s land records department had not handed the plots back to their original owners.

Their farmland was seized by the military in the Myaymon village.

Two years ago, after two infantry units based there officially announced they had returned farmland seized without compensation, the township land records officer carried out a land survey and handed five acres of land over to farmers who were not the original owners.   

"The infantry units seized farmland and announced they would return it later. But we didn’t get all our land back. The township land records officer Kyaw Htane Soe handed the land to other farmers. We reported it to his superiors but there was no action for a year," said Khin Htay Myint from the village.

Farmers also claim warning shots were fired by soldiers as threats while they were working the land.

Farmers' rights activists say such action harms the democratisation process. 

The original landowners say a legal case is lodged with the township court against the farmers who are occupying the land.

"We are suing eight other farmers. The case is underway," said Khin Htay Myint. 

Political activists said these cases could be solved easily and lawfully but the handling by the authorities impoverished the country. 

Kanbalu Township was unavailable for comment.