Monday, 10 August 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Nasaka headquarters in Kawarbill in Maungdaw Township has been using forced labor from nearby villagers since November 1, even as troops practice target shooting in its headquarters, said a school teacher on condition of anonymity. 

Since November 10, Burma’s border security force (Nasaka) has been into target shooting near the headquarters at the foot of a mountain. They are into target shooting in 10 places.

While the target shooting is on, Nasaka headquarters has been using forced labor. Daily, about 100 villagers have to work in Nasaka headquarters preparing tents, renovate roads, make and repair chairs, clean the headquarters and do other works, said a local elder requesting not to be named.  

After 10 days the number of laborers was reduced to between 20 and 35. Forced labor is still on in the headquarters. The workers have to carry food from their homes. 

Besides, villagers nearby are barred from going to the forest to cut bamboo and wood as about 100 Nasaka personnel patrol the forest  for the target shooting.

This time, many Nasaka personnel have been participating in the target shooting. After 1992, “We have never seen so much target shooting in the camp,” said a local youth.

A village elder said, “Target shooting is done for the army’s own purpose but, villagers have to provide forced labor. So the forced labor is not related to target shooting.”

Another businessman from the locality said, “In the presence of Nasaka Director Lt. Col Aung Gyi, villagers are forced to work in the camp.” 

There is international pressure on the ruling military junta to do away with forced labor, but the junta is not bothered, said a trader in Maungdaw town.