Sunday, 25 August 2019

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Nasaka Director Lt. Col. Aung Gyi of Kyigan Pyin of Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, has been extorting money from villagers indirectly through Nasaka commanders and his collaborators, said an aide of Nasaka Area No. 6 of Maungdaw Township.

It is well known that every Nasaka commander has to pay 10 million kyats to the Nasaka director every month by any means. In Maungdaw Township, there are eight Nasaka areas, and an additional Nasaka area in Buthidaung and Rathedaung Townships. So, there are nine Nasaka areas in total under the control of Lt. Col. Aung Gyi. Therefore, his monthly income is 90 million kyats from the Nasaka areas, said a local elder.

“As a result, the Nasaka commander of each Nasaka area has to collect money from the villagers by any means to pay the money to Lt. Col. Aung Gyi. The local Nasaka commanders illegally extort money from local villagers by accusing of them of holding mobile sets, being involved in human trafficking, crossing the border without permission from the concerned authorities, entertaining guests and allowing them to stay in the house without giving information to the concerned authority, having more than two children, marrying without permission, talking with fiancés without permission, alleging that the head of the family has extra family members or reduced family members, etc.”

The Nasaka commander also collects extra money for himself excluding the money from the Nasaka’s director. Therefore, the local villagers become victims as the Nasaka is the above the law. There is no one to come forward to save the Rohingya villagers, who are illegally arrested by the Nasaka border security force, said a local schoolteacher who declined to be named.

“The Nasaka director himself arrests the local villagers by giving so many kinds of allegations against the villagers through his ‘yes men’, and brings them to the Nasaka Headquarters where they are detained for at least 20 days without any query. The arrestee is automatically demoralized for the arrest of 20 days in a dark room. However, after 20 days, the arrestee is asked by the Nasaka to pay money for his release. If the arrestee pays 50,000 to 100,000 kyats, he/she will be released, otherwise he will be detained and tortured till they get money. This is a new method; the Nasaka director is using it to extort money from Rohingya villagers.”

Zahir Ahmed (45), son of Rashid, who hails from Ward No.1 of Maungdaw Town, was arrested by the Nasaka on July 15 over the allegation that he was involved in drug trafficking. He was released the following day after paying 6 million kyats, said a close relative of the victim.

In addition, Motalab (40), son of Jahid Hussain, who hails from Shw Zaar village tract, Mamo Rashid (35), belonging to Shwe Zaar village tract, Poto (30), son of Basuu, hailing from ward No. 4 of Maungdaw Town, were arrested last month by the Nasaka over the allegation that they were also involved in illegal drug smuggling. However, they were released on July 14 after paying 22.5 million kyats. Of them, Zahir was detained at the entrance/exit camp of Mayngdaw Town, and the other two were detained at Nasaka Headquarters, said a youth from the locality.

In addition, Lal Meah, a trader of Maungni Para (village) of Maungdaw Township was arrested on July 14, near the 3-mile Nasaka gate of Maungdaw while he was coming home from Sittwe (Akyab), the capital of Arakan State. He is still in the Nasaka camp. The reason for his arrest is unknown.

Nasaka Director Lt. Col. Aung Gyi does not take any action against the Nasaka commanders when the local villagers gave complaints against them because the commanders are his source of income, said a Nasaka source who has good relations with Nasaka personnel.