Buthidaung, Arakan State: The Burma’s border security force recently extorted money from villagers of Sein Hyinn Pyar Village Tract in Buthidaung Township as their houses are large and strong, said a local young man.
“On April 1, Captain Aung Tun Myint with by Nasaka personnel went to the Sein Hyinn Pyar Village Tract of Buthidaung Township and took photographs of some houses that are big and strong. They asked the villagers to go to the Nasaka camp. These houses were built or renovated ten years ago.”
“In fear of arrest or harassment by the Nasaka, some of the villagers paid 200,000 to 300,000 kyats per, otherwise they would be arrested.”
However, some of the villagers did not go to the Nasaka camp to pay the money. They have been living in the village in panic, said a local elder from the village.
“Some of the villagers who paid money to the Naska captain are identified as Azizur Rahman (42), Mogul Ahmed (50), and the ex-primary headmaster, Noor Mohamed, who works with the World Food Program (WFP). They all belong to Poe Khong Chaung Village of Sein Hyinn Pyar Village Tract.”
“In addition, Awli Ahmed from Dinet Pyin Village, Abdullah from Bazaar West Village, Abdullah (2) from Ratchaung Village, Mohamed Islam of the same village, and Kala Ahmed of Thapray Taw Village had also paid 200,000 to 300,000 kyats to the Nasaka captain per house.”
Earlier, villagers were told to get permission only from the Nasaka for building or renovation of houses, but at present, they also have to get permission from the state level after getting recommendation letters from Village PDC, the Nasaka, Township PDC, National security agency ( former military intelligence, or sarapa), and an army battalion, said a local trader.
“Villagers have to pay 150,000 kyats to each department to get recommendation letters, and then villagers have the right to submit an application to the state-level committee to get permission. It is not an easy matter to get permission.”
Even Master Boshir Ahmed, the present State/Regional Parliament member from Buthidaung South, was not permitted to build a house. However, he recently got permission after expending a lot of money. During the house building, a group of Nasaka officers from the Nasaka Headquarters of Maungdaw Township went to his village and gave many disturbances, said a close relative of Master Boshir.
“The houses are not cemented buildings, so they will be require renovation every year or two years as they are made of wood, bamboo, and thatch. How can the villagers stay in their houses during the rainy season without renovation,” asked a local villager who asked not to be named.