Burma Air Force Orders Rangoon Villagers to Vacate Homes

By May Sitt Paing 24 December 2015

RANGOON — The Mingaladon Air Base Headquarters has ordered over 200 households across four villages in the outer northern Rangoon township of Hmawbi to vacate their homes, telling the families they are squatting on military land.

Residents of Myaungdaga, Wapataw, Kalagon and Shwepyi villages, all four of which are close to the Shwepyi Air and Ground Shooting Range, told The Irrawaddy that they had been ordered to leave by Dec. 29.

“That place was confiscated by the military some 30 years ago. But, we have lived there at least 26 years. There are lots of vegetable gardens and plants, and locals also raise livestock,” said Wapataw local Zaw Moe. “Land prices are so high now. Where are we supposed to live after we move?”

The notice from the headquarters, dated Dec. 11, warned that the military would take legal action against the villagers if they stayed.

“As the military officers came and told us, we dare not negotiate,” said a Kalagon village local, who requested anonymity. “We don’t have money. We are in trouble, being asked to move unexpectedly like this.”

According to an investigatory committee in the Union Parliament, the vast majority of land disputes in the last five years occurred in Rangoon Division, with 1,738 complaints lodged to March this year. The divisional government has yet to settle over 900 complaints.