Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Increased military presence affects locals living near the Shwe Gas and Oil pipeline project

Local people from Namhkam and Namtu Townships are being subjected to travelling longer distances in order to get to their destinations as a result of the Burmese soldiers who are in charge of security for the Shwe Oil and Gas-pipeline There is not only an increase in check points, but the soldiers continually questions the villagers.
A local villager commented that on Maimaw’s Market day, on February 4th there were over two hundred soldiers that toured around the market turning it into a sea of green uniforms. It looked like there were more soldiers there than local people. This is a prime example of the massive increase of military presence in the area.
“Today, I was very unhappy because the soldiers were continually looking at the things that we were buying. In the pork shop there were ten soldiers standing and questioning everybody on their purchases, if we bought over 1.5kg of meat they asked why we bought this amount and what do we plan to do with it along with several other questions. I had to buy over one 100kg of pork for my nephew’s wedding reception, I couldn’t get it for fear of questioning from the soldiers and had to make do with buying mustard and bamboo shoots” said a villager.
Local people have said that Chinese companies pay 5,000 Kyats per day to the soldiers for security around the Gas and Oil pipeline and it is rumored that the higher ranked military personnel are being paid at least 10,000 Kyat per day. The soldiers in this area come from Kyaume and Namtu battalions.
Human Rights Documentation and Information Department
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization



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