Sunday, 20 April 2014

Buthidaung, Arakan State: Arbitrary harassments by army personnel of battalion No. 552 of Taung Bazar under Buthidaung Township, Arakan State against the local Rohingya villagers have been increasing since two months ago, said a local villager who did not identified his name for the security reason.

The Battalion No. 552 is situated at the border of Thanganet and Taragu village tracts near Taung Bazar , which was once the camp of Japan during the Second World War.

“Every Saturday, weekly market, at about 8:00 am, some  army personnel with groups,  go to the market and loot goods from the market goers and beat them arbitrarily when they meet on the way to the market. So, the villagers have to run away from the scene to avoid further harassment.”

When the armies reach in the market, they take goods from the shops which they like; while the shopkeepers ask the money, they are beaten instead of money, said a shopkeeper preferring not to be named.

Besides, sometimes, armies seize the motor bikes of Rohingya young people who went to the market without reason and brought to their camp. Later, the owners have to choose the seized bikes after providing many gifts and money whatever the army want.

According to sources, Rohingya people are not allowed to enter the tea shop by army when   the army is present in the shop. If some Rohingya people are present in the shop before the entering of armies, they have to get out immediately from the shop.

On the other hand, entering the neighboring villages, the army looted coconuts, plastic chairs, plastic sheets which were provided by UNHCR. Also, the army enters villages and hunt chicken from village with their catapult.

“A 12- year old boy said, “When I am going to market with two cocks to sell it in the market for buying rice, fuel, edible oil, some dried fish, and some vegetables. But, on the way, the armies take my cocks, so that I am not able to buy anything from the market.”

Every day, the village chairman has to send 10 villagers per ward from neighboring villagers to the army camp where villagers have to clear grasses, to make road, to carry water and to clean their pots, etc.

An old man aged 70-year old said, “On the way to market, my vegetables are taken by army, so I return to my home with empty.” 

Regarding the harassment by army personnel, Rohingya villagers are upset and disappointed. In future, some villagers will flee elsewhere to take shelter from the persecution.