Freelance miner shot by soldier in Hpakant altercation
A JADE miner was shot in Kachin State’s Hpakant township following a brief confrontation between miners and Tatmadaw soldiers, according to a state MP.
The miner, Seng Onn Naw, was shot on November 12. The bullet tore through his left thigh but did not hit any arteries or bone, said Dashi La Seng, a National League for Democracy state MP in Hpakant. The man is still undergoing treatment at Hpakant Hospital.
Dashi La Seng said the shooting evolved from a complicated situation, but condemned the response by security forces.
“I heard that miners were arguing with the soldiers when the soldiers said they were not allowed into the area. The situation was unclear. A soldier fired – the victim is not the one who was arguing with the soldier. Armed people shouldn’t do that to civilians,” he said.
Some 500 itinerant miners reportedly entered the area held by mining firm Sein Aung Company to collect leftover fragments of jade. They were on the plot without permission. The company requested soldiers to provide security for the area and to usher the miners out, said Major Myo Thura Naung from Hpakant police.
“Miners came into the area without permission. Company staff told them they were not allowed, but they didn’t stop. The soldiers came and warned them to get out,” he said.
No case has been filed regarding the incident, he said. “I don’t know the procedure of the military side,” he said.
Hpakant politician Sein Nyunt Aung from the Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party said illegal jade pickers were a major issue in the jade mining zone.
“Sometimes there are mining firms that do not allow [miners] to go and collect leftover fragments of jade. But some miners don’t care about the rules and sometimes they destroy company property,” he said, adding that many miners are not deterred by the presence of security forces.
Soldiers often have to control and guard companies’ mining areas, he said.