Maungdaw, Arakan State: The commander of Nasaka Area No. 3 in Maungdaw Township has been harassing the local Rohingya people and extorting money while creating false and fabricated cases, said a trader from the locality on condition of anonymity.
“The new Nasaka commander recently came from Rangoon, and he was appointed as the commander of Nasaka Area No. 3 at Taungbru sub-town. He himself was accompanied by other Nasaka personnel from the camp. They went to the local village at midnight while the villagers were sound asleep and arrested several local villagers over many kinds of allegations such as illegally holding mobile sets, having connections with relatives abroad, renovating porches or homes without permission, illegally crossing the border and beihg involved in human trafficking, etc. So far, except for him, no Nasaka commander has gone into villages at night for such kinds of operations.”
“After going into the villages, he seized the family lists of some villagers. But, the commander already had lists that were provided by his agents in advance. Then the commander asked the villagers to go to their camp the next day to take back their family lists.”
“When the villagers went to the Nasaka camp, the personnel returned the family lists to the villagers who were able to pay money. The Nasaka commander had already filed cases against some of the villagers, and they had to pay money according to their cases. So the Nasaka forced the villagers to pay from Taka 10,000 to 100,000 according to the severity of the case. In this way, the Nasaka commander is collecting money from the villagers indiscriminately. It is very strange that he extorted Bangladeshi currency instead of Burmese Kyat.”
For instance, the Nasaka commander extorted Taka 50,000 from Kunsipyin Madrasa on 2 November over the allegation that he had a mobile set, Taka 20,000 from Ms. Nur Seban over the allegation that she was holding mobile set, Taka 100,000 from Mv. Azad Ali over the allegation that he had a mobile set, and Taka 50,000 from Shofi Ullah over the allegation that a person was absent from his family list. All of these victims belong to Kunsipyin Village Tract under Nasaka Area No. 3, said local school teacher who declined to be named.
“Besides, Anwar Islam, the son of Ahamadu, a very poor man, who is still detained in the Nasaka camp, hails from Kunsipyin Village tract and has no possibility to be holding a mobile set. He was arrested 17 days ago.”
“Another man named Mv. Mohamed Tayub from the said village tract was arrested by Nasaka officers four days ago for not giving one Bira (80 pieces) of betel leaf. One Bira of betel leaf costs Kyat 400. He is still in detention at the Nasaka camp.”
The Nasaka went to the villages at about 12 midnight, and continued their work until 4:30 am. They surrounded the whole village in order to control the villagers from entering or leaving the village. They collected Kyat 10,000 from a man who was absent from his house. Actually, he went to another village with permission to pay a visit to his relatives.
This is a kind of inhumane harassment when the whole village is sleeping. The women are frightened when they see soldiers at night in their homes, said a businessman.
The extortion is continuing under the supervision of the area commander and local Military Intelligence officers. Half of the villagers earnings are going to the concerned authorities’ accounts, said a local elder who asked not to be named.