Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mine security fires on protesting Sagaing villagers

Security forces seen at Leikkhuntaung area (Photo - EMG)
Security forces clashed with residents near a Leikkhuntaung police outpost inside the Letpadaungtaung copper mine in Sarlingyi Township, Sagaing Region. Two villagers were injured after being shot with rubber bullets.

A villager said: "We have been hearing rumours of the extension to the fences all this month. We suffered when our farmland was confiscated by the Letpadaungtaung copper mine project so we decided to protest if they started fencing. When villagers heard about the arrival of eight men to build fences, they tried to stop them. Tensions arose and the security forces fired. Ko Paw Htay and Ko Zaw Tun from Moegyopyin Alae Village received gunshot wounds in their arms and legs."

Paw Htay, who was wounded in his leg and hip, said: "I was picking tomatoes on my land near Leikkhuntaung. I was shot when I went there to watch the argument."

More than 100 villagers and security forces arrived as tensions rose. More rounds were fired at residents who tried to climb the fence but no one was injured.
Residents called for the termination of the project, removal of the fences and for the Wenbao mining firm to leave the country. The crowds departed at about 5pm on Saturday.