ARMY DEMOLITION ORDER PROVOKES A COMMUNITY BACKLASH

Villagers of two villages in Bueng Nakhon in the Hua Hin District are reported to be “severely distressed” after soldiers have informed them of plans to demolish their homes within 30 days in preparation to use the area as an ammunition practice area.  They were also informed they could be held liable for any damages and subject to legal action.

ARMY DEMOLITION ORDER PROVOKES A COMMUNITY BACKLASH

Mr. Kittichai Srithongchuay, Deputy Chief of Hua Hin District, said that after visiting the area to listen to the people in the affected communities, a report will be presented to the Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.  Then an invitation letter will be sent to the Thanarat Camp Infantry Center to enable the involved parties to clarify the situation and find a solution.  That would include procedures for the use of the land, including compensation for the suffering of those affected. 

The villagers are reported to have lived in the area for many decades.  Some families have lived in their homes for about 50 years, not knowing i their family residence were in a military safe zone.  The land has been used for farming, pineapple planting, banana planting and rubber plantations.

ARMY DEMOLITION ORDER PROVOKES A COMMUNITY BACKLASH

“I want the responsible agencies to take care of the villagers urgently“, said Prathoon Klaiwong, a village headman, ‘’this affects more than 300 people. To use the area as a real ammunition practice field will affect all villagers with potential dangers and villagers will not be able to go to plantations and farm normally.  Therefore, I would like the relevant agencies to help the villagers.”

Another community spokesperson, Mr. Suwit Namklan, said that now the villagers live in paranoia.  “The soldiers came and posted a notice and ordered the demolition within 30 days, but we think the villagers did not invade but pioneered crop cultivation.”

He wants all government agencies involved in came to find a solution for the villagers.  “ I want those involved to find a solution, not to just come and evict.  Using the land to make a practice field for shooting real ammunition will definitely have an impact on the villagers.”

Ms Wilasinee Wanjai, 36 years old villager said the soldiers asked if there was any other place to stay.  I said ‘’why do you want to use a place where people live?  Why did you chase the villagers out?”

Ms. Samorn Netson, a 64-year-old villager, said she only had a few rai of land where she has grown pineapples, bananas and burned charcoal to generate income.  “I feel sorry because we’ve been here for a long time; nowhere to go I don’t know what to do.” Mr. Somchat Phenrattana, a 48-year-old villager, said “the announcements are not correct and are not official documents. and they should inform the community leaders to come to a meeting to hear information