Sunday, 25 August 2019

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Villagers from Maung Nama Village are being forced to provide firewood to be used for kilns that bake bricks for the Nasaka Headquartes of Kawar Bill of Maungdaw Township, said a local villager on condition of anonymity. The Nasaka is the Burmese border security force.

Yesterday, members of the local Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) announced over loud speakers that every household was required to provide firewood for the Nasaka headquarters. The order came from the Nasaka headquarters.

Every household is being made to provide a minimum of 10 logs (one log is two yards long and 12 inches in circumference). The villagers must go to the forest to cut the logs after getting permission from the forest department. Widows and villagers who are unable to carry logs are exempted from providing the wood.

The authorities have said that villagers will be given Kyat 200 per log. However, villagers suspect they will not receive the money promised. If the concerned authorities do provide money, it is believed that much of it will be appropriated by the local village committee members.

Following a similar previous order, the Nasaka failed to provide any money to the villagers, who brought logs for the same purpose, said a local trader.

The Nasaka has been increasing its construction of camps in Maungdaw Township, and it is possible they may increase the number of Nasaka personnel in the area in future, said a local leader who requested not to be named.

“If the number of Nasaka personnel is increased, then discrimination against the Rohingya people will also be increased,” said a local school teacher.

One local businessman who prefers not to be named said that the Rohingya community is exploited for the benefit of the Nasaka, yet face restrictions on movement and marriage, as well as other forms of discrimination.