Saturday, January 10, 2009

Villagers forced to supply free timber and firewood to Burmese army in Ye Township

Arka (MonNews)- Residents in southern Ye Township are being forced to provide free timber and firewood to Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 31, say local sources.

On December 10th, residents of Toe Thet Ywa Thit who own chain saws were each ordered to provide one ton of timber to IB No. 31. The timber is to be used for the construction of a new Dhamma hall at the battalion headquarters.

Toe Thet Ywa Thit is only home to four chain saws. According to a local source, the four men must travel far from the village to find timber and pay for all their expenses, including fuel.

“The machine owners are still cutting wood according to the order from the battalion,” the source told IMNA in early January. “It is difficult to get wood near the village because of deforestation. And the Burmese army doesn’t give any money to the owners. The owners need to fill gasoline for cutting the trees.”

A few kilometers to the south, villagers in Yin-Ye are being required to provide 30 large piles of firewood for a brick factory operated by IB No. 31. Each pile must be carefully organized into square stacks 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 3 feet tall.

“The battalion gave the order on January 2nd,” said a source in the area. “The total is about 30 piles. Our villagers are still working to provide for that amount.”

Last year, every four households in Khaw –za (Khaw Zar) were required to provide similar, though larger, stacks of wood for the brick factory. The piles had to be 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall. Most vehicle owners were subsequently ordered to transport the wood to the factory. No one was paid for their labor, though some vehicle owners were reimbursed for their fuel costs.

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