Free­lance miner shot by soldier in Hpakant al­ter­ca­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

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.

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