Map of Machyang Baw city, Putao District, Kachin State.
Muscling its way into land and property of people has been an old habit of the Burmese Army. The military has been known to seize whatever it takes a fancy to.
A local battalion has confiscated land and the popular 'Stone Dragon' also called 'Chyauk Naga' in Machyang Baw, a small but beautiful city on the Mali River (Mali Hka in Kachin) band in Putao District in Kachin State, Northern Burma, local sources said.
Dubbing it 'army land', the city-based Burmese Army Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 137 confiscated about 50 acres of land near the city, including the tourist attraction, the 'Stone Dragon' from local land lords in March, 2007, land owners told KNG.
The land was seized by the local army base but the land owners were never compensated, land owners added.
The two Christian Prayer Mountains of the local Assembly of God (AG) and Rawang Baptist Convention (RBC) churches near the city were also seized by the local army Infantry Battalion No. 137 in 2003.
All these areas were confiscated in the name of 'army land'. Military posts were constructed in the areas, the locals said.
Machyang Baw is located 14 miles southeast of Putao where the IB No. 137 has been based by confiscating land belonging to local's without they being compensated since 2004, according to residents of Machyang Baw.
On the other hand, the Burmese junta's Putao District Peace and Development Council has banned, especially 'Church of Christ' worshipers of the Lisu and Rawang tribes from praying in their churches with inter-church conflicts as an excuse, since 2004.
The junta has significantly expanded its military battalions from only one to four after the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) signed a ceasefire agreement with the junta in 1994.