Thursday, 13 August 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Residents of Shwezarr village tract have urged authorities to take action against a local drug trafficker, according to an aide with the local drug enforcement agency.

Residents identified the trafficker only as Rashid, the son of Badu, from Shwezarr West village and said he is responsible for all trade in illegal drugs in the area, with assistance from Captain Than Htun Oo, head of the Burma border security force, Nasaka’s Camp 14, said the aide.

He is involving in the illegal business since 2005, any authority department had arrested him as he ghad given money to authority where he had extorted money from resident.

Nasaka officers from headquarter arrested Rashid on November 22 for illegally trading in drugs and are expected to hold hearings at Nasaka headquarters, the aide said.

The aide added that Nasaka authorities (Captain Than Htun Oo and others) are trying to persuade villagers to testify that Rashid has not had any involvement in drug trafficking.

“Captain Than Htun Oo is now organizing local residents to give statements saying that Rashid is innocent of any crimes or involvement in illegal business,” said a local elder from Shwezarr.

“The captain selected a man named Rashid from Zaydipin and another named Abul from Kanbay village to testify in favor of the drug trafficker.”

Local residents say that the suspected trafficker Rashid has close connections with Nasaka for conducting illegal business in Shwezarr, where he gives money to Nasaka and uses the power of the border security force to harass residents and extort money.

“If Rashid is interrogated, the captain is afraid that Rashid will implicate him. So he is trying to cover for his collaborator and protect him from interrogation,” said a local businessman from Shwezarr.

“If the authorities punished and jailed Rashid, our village would be free of drugs and we would be safe from the authorities blaming us for drugs being trafficked through our village. At the same time, the official who has been involved with this illegal business would also be punished.”

Captain Than Htun Oo has also been accused by local residents of forcing them to work without pay on the construction of a new road along the border, said one village elder.

“Nasaka officers from all sectors have forced people to work on the border road without pay. So most residents are fearful of leaving their homes at night for fear they will be arrested and forced to work.”