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Armed group razes workers' barracks after not receiving extortion money

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Min Thuta – Barracks housing workers of government-owned rubber plantations in Mon State were burnt down by an unknown armed group after the plantation managers failed to pay the extortion money demanded by the armed group, according to local residents.

The rubber plantations belong to Myanmar Perennial Enterprise under the Ministry of Industry 2 and are located between Kwan-hlar and Paung Sein Village in southern Mudon Township, Mon State. A total of five barracks were burnt during the evening of 5 November.

“Nai Than Lwin group is active all along in this area. The group asked for money from the government plantations, but they did not get the money, so they burned the barracks. They did not do anything threatening to the workers, but they spread out a threatening paper,” said a plantation owner from Paung Sein Village.

About twenty workers had to run away from the danger of the fires, and many of them had items destroyed in the burning, he said.

According to the Kwan-hlar villager, the local authorities are searching for members of the armed group in neighboring villages such as Paung Sein, Kwan-hlar, and Young Doung, but so far they have not apprehended anyone.

In addition, four workers from a private construction company near Kamawet Village, Mudon Township, Mon State, were kidnapped by an unknown armed group on 21 October. The company the workers were employed by, AK Construction, was the company that received the contract to repair the Moulmein–Ye highway north of Ye Township. The kidnappers asked for one million kyat per worker from the company. The workers were released after money was paid to the group, according to a source close to the workers.

Since the ceasefire agreement between the Burmese government and the New Mon Sate Party broke down, these kind of events are happening more frequently, said an observer.

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