The Wanpang People’s Militia Force (PMF) is trying to start a coal mining project in Laikha Township in southern Shan State, locals told SHAN.
2020 2 18 Laikha2020 2 18 Laikha
Photo by Laikha civilian
Khu Daw-Na, the leader of the military-backed PMF, reportedly held a meeting with locals at Nawng Yar Seng monastery in the village by the same name on February 15 and outlined his plan to start the mining initiative.
Their proposed mining project would be located between Nawng Yar Seng and Wanpang villages, about eight miles from Laikha town.
Khu Daw-Na told us they would start coal mining project and local people from other villages already agreed their project. They said that they were seeking our perspective on their planned project, a 50-year-old villager from Nawng Yar Seng told SHAN.
Another villager, Aik Sai, said that the same explanation was also given to people in other villages, despite the lack of agreement.
The leader of the Wanpang PMF reportedly said that his organization would repair the monastery and put money into schools in the area if the mining project moved forward.
They gave us three days to decide whether we agree to their project. We don’t accept it, a villager who attended the meeting told SHAN, referring to both villagers and monks in Wanpan and Nawng Yar Seng.
Nobody agreed to this coal mining project. If the coal mining project starts, we will struggle to get water for our paddy fields, Aik Sai told SHAN.
Villagers at the meeting with Khu Daw-Na said that if locals did not agree to the project, the PMF would still start it after reporting it to the authorities, and that the militia’s troops would be deployed to the area.
Sai Kyaw Zayya, the state parliamentarian for Laikha Township, said that he had not heard anything about the mining project.
No one has come to talk to me about it. In my opinion, if local people don’t agree to the project, [the PMF] cannot start it, he told SHAN.
SHAN repeatedly tried to call the Wanpan PMF and Khu Daw-Naw for comment but received no response at the time of reporting.
The Wanpang PMF split from the Restoration Council of Shan State in 2006 and surrendered to the Burma Army that year. They are based around the village of Wanpang and the surrounding area in Laikha Township.
Source: The Shan Herald Agency for News