Residents Tat Gon claim Burma Army sold them now want it back

Over 100 houses located in area near a Burma Army camp in Three Pagoda Pass Town were told by senior army officer they had to leave the area.

Residents from Three Pagoda Pass Town in Karen State alleges that both an army officer from the Southeast Tactical Command and local authorities, warned residents living in the Tat Gon district, to pack their belongings and leave their homes. Residents were told their houses and land belonged to the Tatmadaw [Burma Army].

Saw Taw Yuu, who lives in the Tat Gon district told Karen News that residents, U Sai Yu, Ma Khin Myo Win and Ma Myint Than, were warned on behalf of the other residents by authorities (Ma Ya Ka officers) on March 17, that they had to leave Tat Gon.

“Four residents from Tat Gon were summoned as representatives to the Township [Ma Ya Ka] office. The representatives were told that residents at Tat Gon had to leave as it belonged to the army. Residents were told to be ready to leave, but authorities didn’t say when we had to leave. But, since we’ve been told to leave, we are worried.”

Residents at Tat Gon claim that they had bought each plot of land from Burma Army battalions based in Tat Gon for prices ranging from 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 baht. Residents claim they have to pay a tax of a 100 baht a month and each household pays 40 or 50 baht for security to the authorities.

Sources close to the army camp at Tat Gon in Three Pagoda Pass Town told Karen News.

“The Tat Gon area initially belonged to the government’s army. They [army] are now going to take it back. Residents who are living in the area will have to leave the place eventually.”

Saw Taw Yuu said if the people from Tat Gon are forced to leave their land, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) officials have plans to relocate them on land that can house 30 families. Prices for a 30 to 40-square-foot-plot of land will be sold for 7,500 to 30,000 Baht. Saw Taw Yuu added that the land is on a side of a hill and no-one wants to buy it and move there.

Speaking to Karen News, a resident from Tat Gon [who asked not to be named] said.

“Even though they say the land belong to the government, the army sold the land to us. We have had to pay to live in this place and now we are accused of being trespassers. I have been living here for over 10 years. If I have to leave, I will face many difficulties – I cannot leave the place.”

Mon, Burman and Karen ethnic nationalities live at Tat Gon district of Three Pagoda Pass Town. There are 102 households living just outside the Tat Gon army camp and residents claim that 10-years ago the land was vacant and over-run by bush and and army officers at the Tat Gon camp allocated the land for housing and sold it to civilians.

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