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In a land grab of massive proportions, huge tracts of land of nearly 1,000 families in Hukawng
Valley in Burma’s northern Kachin State have been seized by the Rangoon-based Yuzana
Company backed by the country’s ruling junta, said local sources.

A valley farmer said tens of thousands of acres of land--- active crop plantation and paddy
fields, owned by people in five Kachin villages between Nawng Mai and Danai --- Wara Zup,
Bangkok, Nam Sai, Awng Ra Yang and Sahtu Zup have been grabbed by the regime-backed
Yunaza company.

The crop and paddy fields were owned by nearly 1,000 families spread over five villages,
according to Kachins.

A farmer on condition of anonymity told Kachin News Group, “Our entire land has been grabbed
by Yunaza Company making us landless, where our survival is at stake.”

On the land grabbed, the company is mainly planting two crops--- cassava and sugar cane for
two factories under construction in Bangkok village.

The landless people in the valley are looking for land for cultivation in the mountainous region
far away from their villages. Some villagers are surviving by exchanging their forest-produce,
groceries and rice, said local villagers.

Yuzana Company headed by U Htay Myint made inroads in Hukawng Valley in 2006 and has
seized up to over 400,000 acres of land so far. These include natural forests and locally-owned
crop plantations and paddy fields, said local observers.

In exchange for the benefits from the junta the company has had to take the responsibility of the
strategic plan of the regime to transport 200,000 Burmans from Burma proper and areas hit by
Cyclone Nargis in 2008 to Kachin’s Hukawng valley, said sources close to the company.

The company has so far transported several thousand Burmans under the guise of workers to
the valley and is continuing to do so, said local people.

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Many company workers have run away from the company’s labour camps because they were
not given salaries for several months. However, they are unable to return home and settle in the
Valley, said local people.

The junta finances the company to achieve its plan and also offers security to the company,
said sources close to company officials.

Before Burma’s independence from British rule in 1948, the valley was ruled by 12 Kachin
Duwas, the ancient Kachin territorial rulers.

Burman people have been coming into the valley since a peace agreement was signed between
the Burman-led junta and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in 1994.

Kachin people are angry with the junta for grabbing land in Hukawng Valley and creating an
exodus of Burman people in the valley but are unable to stop it and are helpless.

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