The Paoh National Army (PNA), a people’s militia and the armed wing of the Paoh National Organization (PNO) has driven out farmers in Loi-Lin-Lay and Htee-Sel-Khar villages in Loikaw Township, Kayah (Karenni) State.
A dispossessed farmer said: “We have been using this farmland for many years, it is not as if we just started using the land in the last few days. We will face starvation if we don’t have the use of this land, we don’t have other land to grow on.”
The PNA has grabbed over 100 acres of farmland and though the farmers had already started ploughing some of the farmland they have been forbidden from continuing and the land is being farmed by PNA soldiers.
Twenty five farmers have been gaining their livelihoods from the confiscated land, but only one of them has an official government issued slip, which gives him official permission to farm the land. The other farmers do not have official permission to use the land.
Though the farmers have been appealing to the government’s Land Management Department to be issued with growing permits they have not yet received them, so they have been getting permission to farm the land from the village-tract heads.
In 1991 the PNA signed a ceasefire with the government and the Paoh self-administered zone was established. In 2009 the PNA became a people’s militia force. The PNA people’s militia receives no money from the government and must support itself.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI