Myanmar gives go-ahead to torch poppy fields

2016-02-23 20:01


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Yangon - Anti-drugs campaigners on Tuesday were left to proceed with the destruction of poppy fields in Myanmar's northern Kachin state after a week-long stand-off with police.

Police on Tuesday evening removed their barricades to allow members of the Pat Jasan Christian group to pass through a blocked-off area near the town of Wine Maw.

Members of the police and the military would accompany the activists for security reasons, a senior officer at the Wine Maw police station told dpa on condition of anonymity.

"Police and soldiers will guard them until they finished their campaign," he said over the phone.

Police and military stopped around 3 000 members of the Pat Jasan group near Wine Maw on February 16 after a militia leader had warned that farmers would fight back if the group were let through.

Pala Lum Hkawng, a member of Pat Jasan, told dpa by phone that the group was now heading to the poppy fields where they expect to arrive on Wednesday evening.

"These poppy fields are not owned by individual farmers, but by the local militias," he said, adding that he was not sure how the militias were going to react.

According to a 2015 survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, "Myanmar remains Southeast Asia's top opium producer - and the world's second largest after Afghanistan."

Read more on:    myanmar  |  narcotics

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