Maungdaw, Arakan State: A villager was arrested and money extorted by Burma’s border security force (Nasaka in Burmese) on April 22 on the allegation that he had renovated his house without permission from the authorities, said a close relative of the victim.
The victim was identified as Ali Ahmed (52), son of Asharaf Meah from Kawar Bill (south) village in Maungdaw township.
The victim’s house was built with bamboos and wood 20 years ago and needed renovation. Strong gusts of wind recently led to three pillars of the house collapsing. The authorities do not give permission for renovation without huge money. So villagers are compelled to renovate their houses secretly, said a farmer from the locality.
The house owner, Ali Ahmed needed to replace the broken pillars because his family members were unable to sleep in the house. He replaced three pillars in his house without taking permission.
However, the Nasaka camp was informed by Nasaka collaborators. So, Nasaka personnel led by captain U Lwin from Nasaka Headquarters of Kawar Bill of Maungdaw Township went to the victim’s house at about 2 pm on that day and arrested the house owner, said a local youth.
However, he was released after paying Kyat 250,000 to the Nasaka officer. The village elders Ali Zuher and Md. Harun were present while money was given to the Nasaka, said a school teacher who declined to be named.
The owner had to procure the money after pawning his wife’s gold ornaments to neighbours.
In this way, the Nasaka finds faults of Rohingya of villagers only for extortion while non-Rohingya villagers are free of harassment.
A local trade said, “Without renovation, how can the villagers live in the houses, which are made of wood and bamboo and the monsoons are approaching.”