Land seized for oil drilling in Arakan
From Mizzima News, India
June 14, 2006
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The State Peace and Development Council has seized more than 160 acres of farmland in Kyaukphyu township, Arakan State for oil exploration and extraction.
A villager from the area told Mizzima the land was seized by officers from the Zinchaung police force on May 12.
"They designated Block A near Innpyin village, Block B near Yenantaung village, Block C in Uchay village and Block D in Mintettaung village respectively. Then they surrounded these areas by fence," the villager, who has since fled the area, said.
The China National Offshore Oil Corp is known to already have been awarded exploration and drilling concessions for 60 acres of farmland in Kyaukchaung village. The company started some civil work in the area in April.
Sources in Yenantaung village said Zinchaung police arrested three men for protesting the land seizure - Maung Win, 52, Thein Ngwe, 40, and Kyaw Hla Thar, 34.
The men were released 10 days later and other villagers were threatened not to protest by officials.
"They didn't give any compensation for our farmland seized by them. Moreover they summoned 20 villagers each day as forced labour for the construction of buildings in oil drilling work for about one month. We had to clean the compound and clearing the area for construction work," a source from Yenantaung said. Previously, villagers had been allowed to dig their own small wells on the land.