Monday, 19 November 2018

Maungdaw, Arakan State: A village chairman was arrested by Burma’s border security force (Nasaka) on May 13 over the allegation that he did not pay money to a group of forced laborers who were taken by the Nasaka of Nasaka Area No. 6 from a nearby village for the construction of a fence on the Burma-Bangladesh border, said a trader who declined to be named.

“The arrested village chairman is identified as Sayed Alam, age 29, son of Jaker Hussain, the chairman of Paung Zaar Village Tract of Maungdaw Township. He is the current village chairman. The chairman is being detained at the Nasaka camp.”

On May 12, Nasaka Commander Major Nay Myo Aung of Nasaka Area No. 6 of Maungdaw Township, along with a notorious Nasaka collaborator named Ayas, ordered the said village chairman to provide some villagers to work on the border fence construction, so the chairman provided 50 villagers to the Nasaka for labor, the trader added.

The Nasaka commander also ordered the chairman to pay the workers a daily allowance. However, the chairman refused to pay the daily allowance, as the money had already been distributed to the commander from the concerned authority, but this money was misused by the commander accompanied and the Nasaka collaborator Ayas. As a result, the commander and Ayas want the fence to be built with the unpaid, forced labor of nearby villagers, a businessman from the locality said.

“The Nasaka and Ayas have been trying to file a case against the village chairman after putting a mobile phone in his house or giving marriage permission to a couple in his village without first receiving permission from a Nasaka authority. But all the attempts have failed. The Nasaka collaborator wants to become the chairman of the said village tract after sacking the current chairman.”

Besides, the Nasaka commander along with Ayas extorted a large amount of money within last three months from the villagers of Haji Para Village and Paung Zarr Village of Paung Zaar Village Tracts by accusing them of illegally holding mobile phones, being involved in human trafficking, and giving shelter to Bangladeshi people who came Maungdaw for business purposes, said a local youth.

Some of 20 persons who were victims of extortion schmes in Haji Para have been identified as Nurul Alam (Kyat 1,500,000), Nur Islam (Kyat 250,000), Jamil Ahmed (Kyat 150,000), Hafez Ahmed (Kyat 1.5 million), Nazir Ahmed (Kyat 300,000), Md. Rashid (Kyat 300,000), Md. Taher (Kyat 300,000), Md. Anos (Kyat 150,000), Jaffar Ahmed (Kyat 200,000), Md. Idris (Kyat 200,000), Sayead Hussain (Kyat 200,000), Mokter Ahmed (Kyat 600,000), Purkan Ahmed (Kyat 500,000), Abdul Hamid (Kyat 150,000), Ali Hussain (Kyat 4 million), Ms Mono Wara Begum (Kyat 150,000), Md. Yasin (Kyat 6 million), Ali Hussain (Kyat 150,000), Noor Kamal (Kyat 400,000), and Awlison (Kyat 200,000).

From another village named Paung Zaar, a further 10 villagers were arrested and had Kyat 250,000 to 6 million per head extorted after being accused of many kinds of allegations, including reporting information to exiled media and giving complaints to higher authorities about the Nasaka commander and Nasaka collaborators, said a schoolteacher.

A village elder said, “The Nasaka extorts money from villagers by giving false and fabricated allegations. This method pushes villagers to acute poverty and forces them to flee their motherland.”