Sunday, 31 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Four Madrasa students had money extorted from them by members of Burma’s Border Security Force (Nasaka) between January 5–8 as they were heading to their homes for the Madrasa holidays, said one of the parents on condition of anonymity.

The students have been identified as Noor Mohamed (25), son of Jahid Hussain, from Nari Bill East village, Md. Sayed (18), son of Md. Rafigue, from Nari Bill West village, Md.Ayas (20), son of Shuna Mea, from Nari Bill East village, and Abu Sayed (20), son of Zahir Ahmed, from Nari Bill South village.

The first two students were arrested on January 5, while the second pair of students was arrested between January 6- 8.

The students were heading for their homes for the holidays, traveling by foot from the Maung Nama Madrasa when they met Nasaka personnel from the Nari Bill out-post camp. A Nasaka officer found a SIM card belonging to Noor Mohamed. As a result, Noor Mohamed was fined 300,000 kyat, and Md. Sayed was also fined 150,000 kyat. After paying the fine money, the two students were released.

The Nasaka did not find any fault with the other two students, but the pair had 6,000 kyat looted from their pockets and were beaten up by Nasaka officers before being released, said a local school teacher.

A local village elder asked why the students had to face large fines and harassment.

In addition, the Nasaka recently held the ferry boat of Sarfaddin village ferry port for three hours without giving any explanation. The security force drank alcohol and committed crimes against the Rohingya community. The villagers faced difficulties in attempting to travel with the ferry.

A local trader said, “This was a deliberate action against the Rohingya people who want to cross the river by ferry boat.”

Finally, on January 8, a youth named Jaffar (28), son of Sultan, from Nari Bill East village of Maungdaw Township, was arrested by the Nasaka of Aung Mingala Nasaka out-post camp while going home to his village from Maungdaw Town after shopping. The Nasaka found a battery that had been used in a local mosque for a loud speaker. It is not illegal to carry a battery for a mosque. However, the Nasaka extracted 400,000 kyat from Jaffar before he was released, said a local leader who asked not to be named.

A local businessman said, “It seems the Naska is always looking for ways to give trouble to the Rohingya community by legal or illegal ways, and extort money from them.”

A religious leader said, “We had hoped that there would be some political change after the November 7 elections, but the situation seems to have stayed the same.”