Friday, September 7, 2012

Burmese gov’t fires on looters, one man dead in Phakant

Friday, 07 September 2012 16:34 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Local reports say one person was killed in a looting and vandalizing confrontation in at least five locations in Phakant, Kachin State, involving jade mining company property.

The incidents took place in Hmaw Sizar, Shaw Raw Kha, Myauk Phyu, Moe Byin and Ka Htang Hmaw jade mining areas in Phakant Township where thousands of migrant miners work and live.

Black smoke rises into sky on August 28 after a series of heavy explosions during a battle in the area of the  Myauk Phyu Jade mine in Hpakant, in western Kachin State. Photo: KNG

On September 3, migrant miners forcibly entered jade mining concessions owned by National Economic Development Company and Kyauk Seinn Taung Company in Hmaw Sizar without permission and began to search the waste earth for jade.

When police arrested some intruders, a mob set a building owned by the company on fire and looted property.

“I saw people carrying jade, tin roof sheets and planks on the road,” pastor Nau Ja of the Roman Catholic Church said.

Also, jade stones and fuel stored by a company in Myauk Phyu Hmaw were looted in the night, he said.

The army indiscriminately fired at the intruders and one person was killed, said pastor Nau Ja.

Meanwhile, the area is experiencing fierce fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and government troops. On May 30, all jade mining work at the mining companies was suspended, but some people continued to work in secret, sources said.

The KIA engaged in clashes with government troops on Wednesday night between Yumar and Sai Taung.

Ten government soldiers from a military column were injured when the explosives they carried exploded on the road near the Daw Tin Hla petrol station at the entrance of Sai Taung Township. Three people were seriously wounded and two NGO staff were also injured in the explosion, said Nay Jar Shang of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

On Tuesday morning, Karin Nau Kyan, 27, of Hmaw Wan Ward No. 2, Phakant, was killed by a mortar shell while he was going to work on the Myauk Phyu-Sha Raw Kha road. Karin Nau Kyan is survived by his wife, Daung Nan, and two children.

Since Aug. 19, people from Hmaw Maung Kone, Taung Pyo, Tha Htay Chaung, Sai Jar Buam, Manar Chau, Ba La Kha, Hmaw Wan Gyi, Hmaw Wan Galay, Sha Raw Kha, Zuap Ngai, Myauk Phyu and Hmaw Maung Layan villages have fled and taken refugee in Phakant.

Local residents said increased fighting is expected in the area. They said on Aug. 29 a shell fell on fuel tanks owned by the Wai Aung Kabar contracting company and triggered explosions which left up to 50 government troops dead. The report could not be confirmed.

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