KPN News: An army commanding officer in Maungdaw has started using his office like it’s a court of law. Colonel Naing Soe Htun is supposed to be keeping the peace after the sectarian
violence broke out in June and October, but he’s more concerned with lining his pocket, according to an elder who didn’t want to be named for security concerns.
Htun is summoning villagers from the Rohingya community to his office in the Maungdaw High school to extort money, confirmed a locally based rights worker that also didn’t want their name used
“He is a high ranking officer from the armed forces appointed to enforce the law and bring order between the Rohingya and Rakhine in areas with large Muslim populations. But he is using his power against the Rohingya community to extort money.”
Every day the colonel is getting 100,000 kyats from about 10 people that are forced to see him. It’s extremely difficult for the community to keep coming up with the money. Most haven’t been able to work after their freedom of movement was restricted following the violence, according to a Maungdaw teacher.
“If someone can’t fulfill his demands they will be tortured and kept in the station forced to do hard labour outside.”
This kind of abuse of power is commonly used by the army and other state authorities to extort money from the Rohingya community in Maungdaw, according to one politician. There is no rule of law and all officers using their power against the Muslims.