Sunday, 09 August 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Burma’s border security force, the Nasaka, is using a new tactic in Maungdaw Township to earn money from rural areas. Nasaka Commander Major Nay Myo of Nasaka Area No. 6 of Maungdaw Township has been earning money from local villagers after giving them permission to use mobile phones, and then later taking money after the Burmese water festival, said a local trader who declined to be named.

In northern Arakan State, Rohingyas are barred from using mobile phones without getting permission from the concerned authority. However, non-Rohingyas are allowed to use mobile phones.

The Nasaka Commander controls Nasaka Area No. 6 which has nine village tracts, such as Peran Pru, Kyauk Hla Gaar, Sarfaddin Bill, Naribill, Nanda Khali, Jambonia, Asheka Para (Paung Zaar), Labaw Zaar, and Shwe Zaar.

The Nasaka Commander gave permission to a villager of Peran Pru village tract named Abbass to use a mobile phone by taking 1.2 million kyats for one month. He is a collaborator of Nasaka, and then he forcibly gave the licenses to other villagers by taking 2 million kyats. So, the Nasaka collaborator earned a profit of 800,000 kyats per month from one village tract, the local added.

In this way, other Nasaka collaborators of the other eight Nasaka areas gave the so-called mobile licenses to other villagers by taking more money from the villagers. Villagers are not willing to take the so-called licenses from the Nasaka commander, but the villagers are forced by the commander through the local Nasaka collaborators, said a local businessman from the locality. 

In this way, the Nasaka Commander also gave mobile licenses to others in the eight village tracts by taking money. The commander took one million kyats from Kyauk Hla Gaar village tract, one million from Sarfaddin village tract, 800,000 kyats from Naribill village tract, 500,000 kyats from Nanda Khali village tract, one million kyats from Jambonia village tract, one million kyats from Paung Zaar village tract, one million kyats from Labaw Zaaar village tract, and two million kyats from Shwe Zaar village tract. The license period is only one month and the order is only verbal, the businessman continued.

“As a result, the Nasaka commander earned 9.5 million kyats per month from one of the Nasaka areas. There are eight Nasaka areas in Maungdaw Township. So the Nasaka commander doesn’t have to worry about his family members. The government does not gave sufficient salary to the Nasaka or the army, so they themselves create funds from the villagers where they are appointed to serve.”

Thus, villagers are victimized by the local border security force (Nasaka) and have been become victims of extortion by the authorities. The Nasaka also controls all the financial systems, such as shrimp projects, border trade (between Bangladesh and Burma), ferry boats, fishing nets, collecting taxes from all kinds of production, excess tax from moving goods from one place to another place, etc. in short, there is no single economy in northern Arakan that escapes the involvement of the Nasaka, the army, or other government authorities directly or indirectly, said another local elder on condition of anonymity.