MANDALAY – Four prospectors were fatally shot and at least a dozen people were injured during a fresh clash between prospectors and police on Wednesday at a jade mining region in Nan Si Bon, Hkamti Township, upper Sagaing Division.
More than 500 local prospectors from Nan Si Bon reportedly search for jade residue in the Ma Kyan Kha jade mining area, where restrictions were recently issued on entry and mining.
“Police have stopped the prospectors from entering and searching for jade residue since Tuesday night,” said Ko Aung San Myint, a local of Nan Si Bon.
“Prospectors had a confrontation with police when they burned 38 fuel tanks and later apprehended a policeman. The police opened fire and four prospectors died,” he added.
Another local, who asked to remain anonymous, said police opened fire near a waste pile where prospectors were working.
“I was there when police opened fire. I did not know what was happening but I was shot and saw police shooting toward the waste pile,” said the injured local.
According to locals, the injured people were taken to Hkamti General Hospital.
The administrative office in Hkamti issued a warning on Monday that prohibited entry into the jade mining premises and order mining companies to cease work.
The warning also stated that illegal prospectors should stop their actions and leave the Ma Kyan Kha area by May 30.
The Emerald Jade Myanmar Company is currently working in the area and has sent complaints to the Sagaing divisional government over the past few months regarding local piling waste soil and the environmental impact. Complaints regarding the illegal mining of jade on company premises were also filed.
To solve the problem, the divisional government issued a notice on Monday to halt all mining and prospecting on the property until an investigation could be carried out.
The notice said no one should work while the authorities look into illegal mining, environmental impacts and rules and regulation for prospectors in line with the law, while ensuring stability and rule of law in the region.
According to the Hkamti District administrative office, prospectors were breaking martial law, which was enacted in the area on Monday.
“They broke into the area and then fought police who tried to stop them while destroying property as well,” said U Zaw Zaw, a Hkamti district administrative officer.
“Nine policemen were injured also. The incident is under investigation,” he added.