Sunday, 31 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Members of the General Engineering (GE) Corps of Maungdaw Township recently seized goats belonging to local villagers while the animals were grazing on near public roads, said a local elder on condition of anonymity.

The GE Corps came to Maungdaw from Buthidaung for the construction of bridges and the renovation of local roads in Maungdaw Township. But a captain of the GE forced local people to participate in the construction of roads and carried away goats belonging to villagers. Members of the GE are sheltered at the Lone Gadong Nasaka outpost camp No. 12 of Nasaka area No. 5. It is believed the goats were taken to feed the GE, and no compensation was paid to the owners of the animals, said a local trader who denied to be named.

On January 4, a captain of the GE Corps seized a goat belonging to Fatema Begum, aged 25, while the animal was grazing by the road. The mutton of the goat is estimated to have weighted about 10 kilograms. A kilogram of mutton is being sold at 4,000 kyat in the local market. Therefore, Fatema values her loss at 40,000 kyat.

On the same day, a goat weighing 12 kilograms and belonging to Hussain Ahmed, aged 50, was also taken away to the Nasaka camp by the GE members.

Two days later, GE personnel took a male goat along with three kids belonging to Ms. Dawlu Begum, aged 40, from the same village by the, according to a relative of a goat owner.

The owners of the goats have lodged complaints with the concerned authorities, but so far no action has been taken regarding these cases.

In addition, the GE forces arrested Ehsan Ullah, aged 20, son of Abul Fayaz (an ex-village chairman) on January 5, while Ibrahim, aged 24, son of Nur Islam, of the same village was arrested on January 7 over an allegation that the Lone Gadong-Nari Bill road was destroyed by water from the men’s shrimp projects. Following their arrest, the two were brought to Nasaka camp No. 12 of Nasaka area No. 5, where they are still being held. There legs have been put into wooden boxes.

The Lone Gadon-Nari Bill road is built across the two men’s shrimp projects. When the shrimp farms were filled with water from the high-tide, the road was destroyed, the GE alleges.

The villagers of north Arakan State have long been discriminated against by the Nasaka, the army, the police, and other authorities, and now the villagers must face persecution from the GE Corps as well, said an ex-local schoolteacher.