Maungdaw, Arakan State: Burma’s border security force (Nasaka), has been collecting money from villagers transporting sacrificial cattle to markets to sell in Maungdaw Township since 1 November, said an elder from the village who declined to be named.
“A group of Nasaka personnel from Nari Bill outpost camp, under the Nasaka area No. 6 of Maungdaw Township, goes to a bridge from which villagers have to cross to go to other places, villages, or markets. From this point, the Nasaka collects Kyat 8,000 per head of cattle when villagers try to pass.”
“They also rob the villagers who cross the bridge even when they do not find any fault. The Nasaka wants money from the Rohingya community no matter what the pretense.”
Eid-ul-Azha (a great festival for Muslim people) will be celebrated on 1 November. The Rohingya villagers are busy buying and selling cattle in advance of the festival. They want to bring cattle from one place to another after crossing the said bridge. Taking advantage of this situation, the said Nasaka personnel are collecting money from the cattle traders, owners, and buyers illegally. The vilalgers have already paid money to the concerned authorities as a tax, said a local cattle trader on condition of anonymity.
According to villagers, the price of the cattle has skyrocketed this year compared to last year due to the scarcity of sacrificial animals.
The Maungdaw Administration Office ordered the Rohingya community to set up a market for their sacrificial animals between Myothugyi Village and the Three Miles Station, which is far from Maungdaw Town. Therefore, town dwellers are facing difficulties in buying animals for the sacrificial festival. Last year, the market was set up near Myoma Kayandan Village, which is only one mile away from Maungdaw, said an elder from Maungdaw.