Local people are demanding a stop to the illegal logging trade now flourishing in Katha District of Sagaing Region. Chinese and Burmese businessmen cut down teak and other hardwood trees in Indaw and Bamauk Townships of Saigaing Region and transport the timber to China through Shwegu and Mansi Townships in Kachin State.
A local man (source 1), who lives in Indaw township and spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said that businessmen have been logging illegally in the area since early 2022. In Bamauk Township the illegal loggers have targeted the Maetaw, Pantaw, Mang Kaptaw, and Khawng Thit forests. In Indaw Township they have targeted the Ywa Houng and Gahae forests.
“They have been excessively cutting down hardwood trees in Indaw and Bamauk Townships. They use chainsaws to fell the trees, and they have a large wood mill in the jungle. They cut off the outer bark before transporting the teakwood to China using 12-wheel vehicles. The loggers are Chinese nationals who cannot speak Burmese language. They come from China,” he (source 1) told KNG.
Teakwood is typically transported from Indaw and Bamauk Townships in Sagaing Region to China through Shwegu and Mansi Townships in Kachin State.
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) have control in these territories, so local people are demanding that the National Unity Government does something to disrupt this illegal logging in Indaw and Bamauk Townships.
“We do not want businessmen doing illegal logging in our area. I thought that the NUG and its armed groups have full control over this region. These businessmen do not pay taxes to the government for logging in these townships or exporting the timber. They use jungle roads to illegally send the teakwood to China. This is why we want the NUG to do something to systematically stop illegal logging here,” another male resident of Indaw Township (source 2), told KNG.
After the military coup, illegal teakwood logging and illegal gold extraction have been increasing around the country.