Monday, 20 May 2019

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The director of Burma’s border security force (Nasaka), Lt. Col. Aung Gyi, met with local people at the Maungnama Madrasa of Maungdaw Township yesterday afternoon regarding rumors of links between the Taliban and villagers of Kamaung Seik Village, according to an attendee of the meeting.

“About 300 people participated in the meeting, including village authorities, village elders, religious leaders, and other villagers from nearby villages,” said the attendee.

The Nasaka director attended the meeting accompanied by a captain and other security personnel.

During the meeting, the Nasaka director said, “Since 2008, many people from northern Arakan have been fleeing abroad, and also many villagers have been robbed by thieves. As a result, many villagers have faced various kinds of difficulties.”

“We are very grateful to the villagers for giving us votes on November 7 in the 2010 national elections where we received 60% to 80% of the votes from the villagers, and we have come to know that Muslim people give respect and obey their religious leaders. These are good characteristics. So, we think that Muslim people want to work with the government.”

“The recent spreading of rumors regarding Taliban links with the local villagers of Kamaung Seik Village of Maungdaw Township is a creation of members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD). There is previous enmity between the two parties as in the area, most of the villagers had voted for NDPD candidates. So, we have come to know that the said “Taliban link” is a creation by members of the said two parties.”

“We have arrested some villagers after receiving information of links with the Taliban. We will release all innocent people after the interrogations are complete. We also need recommendations from village authorities, elders, and religious leaders.” 

“If anyone is harassed in illegal ways, the matters will be raised to the concerned authorities so that they can take action against the culprits.”

“Don’t open your doors at night if anyone asks you to open them for checking or other proposes. For your safety, you have to guard your areas, and don’t allow any strangers to enter your villages.”

Similarly, the Nasaka director asked the local people to develop the area by working together. He said that village authorities, village elders, and religious leaders would study the problems of the community and jointly report to the concerned authorities. “We will try to solve the problems as soon as possible,” he assured.

“It is necessary for the Muslims in this area to be uplifted with education programs. For education and health issues, the elected People’s Parliament member U Aung Zaw Win will establish schools and hospitals after approval of the new government.”

“You have the right to practice your religion freely in your area.” 

“You will ask for your wage from the village authority or concerned authority if they ask you to join a workforce, and reject if they attempt to force people under 18 or over 60 to work. If you see something wrong, please inform us.”