Burmese navy threatens farmers with revocation of its rented lands

Kyauk Pru: The regional headquarters of the Burmese navy known as the Danyawady Naval Base, stationed in Kyaukpru in western Burma’s Arakan State has threatened the local farmers with the revocation of the leases of lands rented to them after asking for more paddies as the rental charges.

Burmese navy threatens farmers with revocation of its rented lands
The Dynyawaddy Navy base in Kyauk Pru.

“They [the naval headquarter] have been asking for more paddies from us for the rent of their lands for the last harvest threatening that they will stop hiring out their land to those who fail to pay the rent being charged by them in the coming season. Now we are facing a great difficulty for our livelihoods”, said one of the farmers from Sitetaw Village in Kyaukpru Township.

The Danyawady Naval Base is situated near the Sitetaw Village and is said to have forcibly confiscated many acres of farmlands traditionally owned by the farmers in the village on the pretext that it needed the land in order to build its stations in 1992.

“They built their extended stations on a few acres of farmlands that were forcibly confiscated from us and have been hiring back the extra 173 acres of land to 43 farmers from our village. They previously charged 10 baskets of paddy per acre of land as rent, but they have suddenly increased the rental charge to 26 baskets per acre this year. If we  pay what is being charged by them, nothing would be left for us. If we do not pay, we will not be allowed to cultivate on the lands in the coming season, thus we are now in a tight corner”, said the farmer.

He said that the naval headquarters has threatened to revoke the rented lands from the farmers in the coming season after the farmers stood firm against them for months without paying its suddenly increased rent after the recent harvest.

The Danyawady Naval Base was unreachable when contacted by Narinjara over telephone, but a retired sergeant from the base, who is living in Kyaukpru said, “Nothing is officially known as to why the naval force has increased the rent for the land from the farmers, but it is learnt that the higher authorities have ordered them to collect more paddies this year from the area.”

U Thandar Maung Maung, a spokesperson of the office of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in Kyaukpru, also confirmed that the farmers have complained of the situation to his office as well.

“The farmers have also complained to our party’s office here, addressing their complaint to our lawmaker of the peoples’ parliament U Ba Shin. We have also learnt they are now preparing to send their complaint letters to the higher authorities who include the president, the minster of the defense ministry, the chief-of-staff, the regional chief minister and the township administrator regarding the increased rental charges imposed by the naval base”, said U Thandar Maung Maung.

He also said that the naval headquarters has confiscated many acres of farmlands in other villages across the area on the pretext of building its posts as well.

“The naval forces here have confiscated many acres of paddy fields not only in the Sitetaw Village, but also in other villages of Saikhrun, Goonshein, Ohntaw and Zayterun in the area on the pretext of constructing their stations on the lands. But they have been leasing most of the land back to the farmers, charging paddies for rent without constructing any stations on them”, he said.

According to the farmers, it is only in Arakan State in Burma, where the Burmese armed forces have been perpetuating the forcible land confiscations from the farmers and leasing of the land back to the farmers for their own profits, echoing similar practices of Indian Chettairs who were known in the post-colonial history of Burma for their inhumane exploitation of Burmese farmers.

They said they would have expected the present U Thein Sein led civilian regime to have stopped its armed forces carrying out such violations.

Private company hands over Sittwe-Buthidaung ships to government after to monks’ demand

Buthidaung: The private Nagarmin Company has handed over the public shipping line between Sittwe and Buthidaung in Arakan State after the Buddhist monks from Buthidaung wrote to the owner of the company demanding to reduce the fare or hand the ships back to the government.

“Inland Water Transportation has started to run the Buthidaung-Sittwe ship line again from 2 April and the ship fare has also been reduced”, said a local resident

Ven. U Thawma, who led the other monks from Buthidaung to demand the handover of the public ship line back to government, said he was pleased the ship line was given back to the government and that the ship fare has been reduced.

“Now the public ship line is back in the government’s hands and the ship fare has also been reduced. Now the ship fare is 1,800 kyat and the people can save 1,200 kyat compared to 3,000 kyat that was charged when Nagarmin Company was running the ship line. We are glad because the ship line is back with the government, but we have to ask travelers if the present ship fare is an appropriate price for them”, said Ven. U Thawma.

27 Buddhist monks from downtown Buthidaung led by Ven. U Thawma wrote a letter to the owner of the Nagarmin Company, U Kyaw Nyaunt, in early March, demanding he reduce the ship fare to the former government rate or hand the ship line back to the government, as the people in their town and other adjacent areas were suffering from the enormous ship fare hike since the company took lease of the ship line from the government.

A youth from Buthidaung however said there is not much difference in the ship fares after the government has started to re-operate the ship line.

“There is still not much difference in the ship fare, though the government is running the ship line now again after taking it back from the private company. We still have to pay 1 ,800 Kyat for a ticket, 700 Kyat for a chair on the ship so we have to spend at least 2,500 Kyat for a trip to Sittwe”, said the youth.

The former ship fare from Buthidaung to Sittwe on the public ship line was 500 Kyat, but it increased by six times to 3,000 Kyat when the private company took lease on the ship line from the government in mid 2011.

There are private express vessels such as Shwepyitan, Malikha and NCR sailing between Buthidaung and Sittwe. The fares of those express vessels are 7000, 7500 and 6000 Kyat respectively, and most of the people in the area are unable to afford those expensive fares and they have to depend on the public ship line for their travel and transportation.

Board Formed in Parliament to Scrutinize Arakanese National Flag and Costume

Sittwe: A board was formed with five members in the regional parliament of Arakan State on 3 April, reportedly to scrutinize the current Arakanese national flag and costume, despite that the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, or RNDP, which won the majority of elected parliamentary seats in the 2010 election, strongly opposed such a committee.
The members of the board are U Hla Thein, the regional advocate general, U Min Tun, professor of the faculty of history, U Zaw Win Hline, professor of the faculty of Burmese, U Mhway Hla, writer, and U Zaw Zaw, the curator of the cultural museum.
The five-member board was formed by the state parliament amid widespread opposition against renewal of the Arakan national symbols by lawmakers from the RNDP, and the Arakanese intellectual community.
“We, the members of the RNDP, have proposed in parliament matters that are more important than the already existing national flag and costume for the development of Arakan State, but the parliament never accepted our proposals, and has been busy renewing those national symbols since the session started. Now it has already formed a board for scrutinizing those symbols by the votes of the USDP and military representatives,” said a lawmaker of parliament from the RNDP, on condition of anonymity.
He said the state parliament decided to form the board with 24 votes in support, 16 objections, and 1 abstaining.
According to him, the board was formed in the parliamentary session on 3 April after lawmakers from the USDP – U Maung San Shwe from Buthidaung Township and U Than Naing from Rambree Township – spoke on 29 March in support of the proposal made by U Thar Nyaunt of the USDP from Man Aung Township to change the current Arakanese national flag and national dress, asserting that they are out of fashion with the current age.
Many Arakanese are now worried that their long accepted national symbols will be ruined after being scrutinized by the board, he said.
The Arakan State flag, seals, and national dress emerged when Arakan State was promoted to a state from division-level status by the Burmese socialist government led by former dictator U Ne Win, in accordance with the 1974 constitution.
The flag, seal, and national dress were recognized even by the U Ne Win government, and they were developed by Arakanese scholars and historians after about three years of work.

ALP and Arakan State Government Sign a Five-Point Peace Deal

Maung Aye

Sittwe: The Arakan Liberation Party and the government of western Burma’s Arakan State have signed a five-point peace deal on Thursday in the regional capital of Sittwe in an initiative to build peace between them.

Khine Thukha, the joint-general secretary (2) of the ALP, and the second leader of the party’s peace delegations, told Narinjara that they were able to reach a five-point agreement in their two-day peace talks with the regional government.

“We have signed the agreements to stop fighting each other, to open liaison offices in Kyauktaw and Paletwa for mutual communication, not to cross each others’ areas holding weapons without prior information or negotiation, to allow members of the ALP free travel across the nation, and to continue negotiations for the activities to build peace and development inside Arakan State,” said Khine Thukha, adding that the agreements would come into effect from 6 April.

Their two-day peace meeting was held in Sittwe Hotel on the sea beach in Sittwe from 4 April.

The Arakan State Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin, the Minister of the Ministry of Security and Border Affairs, Colonel Htin Lin, the Chief of the Western Command Lt. Colonel Myo Min Naung, Regional Advocate General U Hla Thein, and the Director General of the Border Areas Development, U Soe Win, were said to have led the government delegations while meeting with the 18-member ALP delegations led by Vice-President U Khine Soe Naing Aung.

“The government side led by Colonel Htin Lin has signed the agreement, while I, our executive committee member Khine Tun Lunn, Lt. Colonel Moe Chan, and Major Khine Myo Chite from our side have signed the agreement,” said Khine Thukna.

“We presume this is the first step to solve the political problem by political means and hope that we will be able to make progress from this step as well,” he said.

Thousands of local residents in Sittwe were hoisting the ALP’s flags, holding banners and placards that read with good wishes and support for the ALP and playing the Arakanese traditional drums, received the ALP’s peace delegation led by U Khine Soe Naing Aung when they arrived at the town from Rangoon by plane on 4 April.

“That shows what the people want is similar to what we are striving for,” said Khine Thukha, expressing thanks to the people for their support and welcoming his party.

 

Arakanese oppose renewal of their national flag and costume

Sittwe: The leading Arakanese political party, the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, has decided to continue their opposition to the regional governmental schemes to renew the regional national flag and costume in western Burma’s Arakan State.

A consultation meeting with the Arakanese intelligentsias in RNDP office in Sittwe on March 31.

The party has made the decision after holding a consultation meeting with the Arakanese intelligentsias in its head office in Sittwe on March 31, following the government’s approval of the renewal of the Arakan State’s national flag and costume that were proposed by a lawmaker from the Union Solidarity and Development Party in a recent parliamentary session.

Khine Kaung San, a former political prsioner who attended the meeting, told Narinjara that all the Arakanese intellectuals and scholars in the meeting objected to the government’s scheme to renew their national flag and costume.

“Everyone in the meeting has expressed their dislike and objection to the government’s scheme to change their national flag and costume stating that the government alone should not make any changes to them without public desire or opinion because they are the symbols of the Arakanese people. Accepting their opinions, the RNDP has also decided in the meeting to continue its opposition to the scheme”, said Khine Kaung San.

Over 50 Arakanese intelligentsias who included three ministers of the Arakan State Government, U Thar Lu Shay, U Kyaw Thein and U Aung Than Tin, attended the meeting that was chaired by the prominent Arakanese historian and literati U Maung Ba Thein.

Khine Kaung San said the three ministers from the RNDP also supported the proposal made by U Thar Nyaunt, a lawmaker from the USDP, in the parliamentary session that was held on 29th of March in order to change the present Arakanese national flag and costume asserting they are out of fashion in the present age.

“Those three ministers from the RNDP casted their supporting votes when the proposal of the USDP’s lawmaker was decided on the ballot in the state’s parliamentary session. Another lawmaker of the RNDP from Minbya Township, U Maung Kyaw Zan, is also said to have abstained in the process. The opposition to the proposal lost with 28 supporting, 14 objecting and 1 abstaining votes respectively”, he said.

It was also learnt that the proposal also encountered opposition among the lawmakers in the Arakan State Parliament for final approval in the session that was held on 2nd April, but no outcome of the debate is disclosed yet.

According to the source, the Arakanese intelligentsias after their wide discussions in the meeting on the issue of the parliamentary renewals of their national flag and costume reached the decision that they have to oppose to the scheme proposed by the military backed USDP.

They believed that there may be other motives behind the USDP’s proposals for the renewal of their national flag.

BGB asks Nasaka to crack down on Yaba factories on border

The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has asked the Burmese border security and immigration force Nasaka to crack down on factories that produce Yaba or methamphetamine tablets on the border in their commander-level flag meeting.

The meeting was held between the 15-member BGB delegations led by Colonel Md Bashirul Islam, the commander of BGB Chittagong Sector, and the 17-member Nasaka delegations led by Colonel Aung Gyi, the commander of Nasaka in western Burmese border, on 31 March in Cox’s Bazar, a southeastern sea resort town in Bangladesh.

Colonel Md Bashirul Islam told the reporters in the press briefing after the meeting that they have demanded their Burmese counterparts immediately crack down on factories  near the border to stop the increasing smuggling of Yaba into their country.

“There are three Yaba factories on the Burmese side very close to Bangladesh. Yaba tablets are now being smuggled from those factories into Bangladesh and have been ruining the lives of Bangladeshi youths”, said Colonel Md Bashirul Islam.

“We have made a strong demand to Nasaka in this meeting to immediately crack down on the factories to stop Yaba smuggling”, he added.

He said that the BGB delegations had handed over to its Burmese counterparts statistics of Yaba seized during the last five months and a list of three Yaba factories on the Burmese side of border in the meeting.

Burmese Nasaka head Colonel Aung Gyi was said to have replied to the BGB that Nasaka would take actions to take down the cross-border Yaba smugglings and would pass on the information to Bangladesh after investigations whether there are yaba factories or not in his territories on the border.

According to the source, the other agendas of the BGB that included preventing illegal immigration of Burmese people, exchange of prisoners from both countries, expansion of border trade and the issue of Burmese troops building-up along the Bangladesh borders were also discussed in the meeting.

RWU Stages Demonstration Against Shwe Gas in front of Chinese Embassy in Dhaka

Dhaka: The Rakhine Women’s Union, or RWU, based in Bangladesh, staged a demonstration against the Shwe Gas Project in front of the Chinese embassy in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on Tuesday, calling on the Chinese government to stop the project immediately, said a spokesperson from the RWU.

Ma Saw Thiri Raymon, the group’s spokesperson, said that around 20 members of RWU gathered in front of the Chinese embassy in Dhaka at 11:30 am to stage the demonstration against the Shwe Gas Project.

“We came to the Chinese embassy to let [the Chinese and Burmese government] know our people’s desires regarding the Shwe Gas Project. We Arakanese people, owner’s of Shwe gas, want to stop the project because there is no profit for our people – it is only for foreign companies and the government. Because of this, we demanded the Chinese government stop the Shwe Gas Project immediately,” said Ma Saw Thiri Raymon.

The Shwe Gas Project is being implemented by the Burmese government to export gas from the project to China through the pipeline, with completion reportedly in 2013.

The Burmese and Chinese governments are also constructing a trans-Burma oil and gas pipeline originating off the coast of Arakan State and terminating in China’s Yunnan Province, also set to come online in 2013. The project will become the country’s largest source of foreign revenue, generating USD 29 billion over 30 years.

“There are a lot of natural resources including gas, oil, and marine resources in Arakan State, but our state is the most poor in Burma. The Burmese authority is still exploiting our national resources for their own interests. Our people have not had electricity through a power grid since Burma gained independence. Even though there is a lot of gas in our state, our people have to use candles and oil pots daily instead of gas. We can not accept such discrimination by the Burmese government. So we demand the Chinese government stop the project immediately,” Ms. Saw Thiri Raymon added.

During the demonstration, the protesters shouted out some slogans in front of the Chinese embassy, demanding a stop to the Shwe Gas Project immediately, as well as the withdrawal of Korea’s Daewoo and other foreign companies from the project.

The RWU also issued a statement on the same day, pointing out that the native Arakanese people have lost many rights for the Shwe Gas Project, and have lost not only their natural resources, but also their land and fishing waters. The RWU has demanded the Chinese government stop the project because the Arakanese people, to whom the gas rightly belongs, are not receiving any benefits.

The demonstration ended peacefully around 12:30 pm without any harm, despite very tight security in the diplomatic area.

On 7 March, 2012, U Aung Kyaw Htoo, deputy director of Burma’s energy ministry, announced that 20 percent of gas from the Shwe Gas Project will be used for domestic demand, but he did not say how much of that would be used to bring electricity to Arakan State.

The Burmese government previously had no plans to supply electricity to Arakan State , but it was learned that the government is now planning to supply electricity to the state through the national power grid using a USD 65 million loan from India.

Two Arakanese Parties Welcome Landmark Victory for NLD in By-Election

Maung Rammar
Dhaka: Two major Arakanese parties – the RNDP and ALD – have heartily welcomed the landmark victory of the NLD in the by-election that was held on 1 April, 2012, for 45 seats.

Dr. Aye Maung, chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, which won 35 parliamentary seats in Arakan State in the 2010 elections, said that his party cordially and heartily welcomes the landmark winning of the National League for Democracy in the recent by-election in Burma.

“I believed the NLD would win in the election because the NLD is still popular among the people with the hope of Burmese people. Now the NLD won a landmark victory in the election in accordance with my thinking. It is a great chance for all of us to change Burma to a democratic country. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some NDL representatives will come to parliament in the future and it is also a good opportunity for democratic forces in parliament to carry out more effectively what we need to change for democracy in Burma through parliament,” Dr. Aye Maung said.

Dr. Aye Maung is not only chairman of the RNDP, but also a representative from the upper house in Burma’s parliament.

“It is proof how much people support the NLD. In the 2015 election, the potential of the NLD is very good. It is a knock on the door for democracy in Burma. Our party welcomes the NLD winning in the by-election and we are ready to cooperate with the NLD to amend the 2008 constitution where there are many acts against the democratic process,” Dr. Aye Maung added.

Another senior Arakanese politician from the Arakan League for Democracy, which won 11 seats in the 1990 election, U Aye Tha Aung, said that they welcomed and cheered the historic victory.

“The ALD has been an alliance party of the NLD for two decades. We are working together for democracy in Burma even though we are facing many challenges against us. We hope Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will amend the constitution with the support of some parliament legislators, including the army, throughout the parliament in the near future. Daw Suu has the ability to bring the country to a democratically developing and united country in the near future,” U Aye Tha Aung said.

U Aye Tha Aung lead the ALD as a winning party in the 1990 election, with 11 seats, but later the military government abolished the party without justification. Since then, the party has had to carry out its activities illegally. The ALD is now applying with the election commission to register as a political party, however, the election commission has not decided to recognize the ALD for registering.

According to political sources, most of the ethnic parties, not only the Arakanese parties but also other ethnic parties such as the Shan, and Chin and Karen parties, support the NLD and Daw Suu because they believe she is the only Burmese leader who can solve the problems of the ethnic groups that began when Burma regained independence in 1948.

The NLD won 43 seats in the by-election and the entire Burmese people cheered the landmark winning of the NLD after the 1990 election.

China cracks down on Burmese migrants, Arakanese include among those arrested and deported

By Marm Sert Khaing

Dhaka: Chinese police nowadays are cracking down on Burmese migrants in its border towns close to Burma. Many Arakanese are also included among those being arrested and deported by the Chinese police over last weeks, said a coordinator of the Muse-base social group “Garunar”.

Deported Arakanese migrants in a Burmese town ( Photo by Bo Han face book)

“According to the information we have received from those who were deported, nearly 1,200 Burmese migrants, including women were arrested by the Chinese police in the recent crackdowns. The ones who have no passport are sent to jails while the ones who are arrested from a factory or industry are being pushed back to Burma after brief detentions”, said the coordinator.

He said over 20 Arakanese migrant workers on the Chinese side have arrived in his office in Muse on Burmese side after they have been arrested and deported by the Chinese police during the last month.

“16 Arakanese people who worked on the Chinese side arrived to us on March 23. They told us that there were 50 Arakanese working in a brick kiln on the Chinese side and that they were forcibly pushed back to Burmese side after being arrested at the kiln by the Chinese police. Another two of them from the same kiln came to us later on in the day as well, but we do not know yet what happened to the remaining Arakanese workers in that kiln”, said the coordinator.

He said 17 of those 18 workers deported from the kiln are Arakanese— 11 are from Ponnagyun Township, 3 from Sittwe, 2 from Pauktaw and 1 from Thandwe in Arakan State— and the other worker is from Kuatkhine from northern Shan State.

“Another batch of 154 workers who were deported from China came to us via Panhtan quay on the next day and we have found that there were 7 Arakanese among them as well”, said the coordinator adding that his group assisted those 24 Arakanese by giving them 20,000 kyat each and also provided food to them.

An Arakanese youth who is living in Kyaykhaung on Chinese border also said when the workers were arrested by the police, their Chinese employer did not render any protection as well as withholding their wages.

“The Arakanese workers told me that they were arrested at 8 am when they were working in the brick kiln and were put onto a car by the police immediately without letting them take back their possessions such as mobile phones and identity cards from the kiln, and their employer did not do anything to save them from the police’s arbitrary arrests, and did not give them their wages of 850 Yuan per person”, said the youth.

A Burmese worker who worked in Shweli said the Chinese police have started to crack down on the Burmese migrant workers since a Chinese police officer was stabbed to death in a clash between Burmese and Chinese citizens at a game shop in Shweli early this month.

“Six Burmese workers had a clash with Chinese citizens early this month at a game shop in Shweli. As they were fighting, the game shop owner called the police and a police officer in civilian clothes came to the spot and when he tried to mediate their fight, he was stabbed and killed. Four of them were caught by the police while the remaining two escaped. Since then, the police have started to crack down on all Burmese workers”, said the worker.

According to the sources, there are two types of border passes issued by the Burmese authorities in Muse for entry to the border towns of Shweli and Kyaykhaung on Chinese side—a red book is issued to the residents who have official family registrations in Muse and a one-time card is issued to any Burmese citizens who has a national identity card for 6 to 7 nights stay on the Chinese side, but no Burmese are allowed to work on the Chinese side with those border passes, and the Chinese authorities issue a green book as a work permit to the Burmese for working in their territories.

A Burmese worker who was released from the jail yesterday however said the Chinese police were arresting every Burmese migrant worker whether they have an official work permit or not and are torturing them in jail.

“I am working in Shweli holding the green book, but I was arrested whilst going to see my younger brother because I was worried for him. The police put me in jail and interrogated me using various tortures that included kicking and beating. There were many other Burmese workers in that jail as well. The police did not allow us to even look up at them. They also forced the women to sit up and down, and stripped them naked in the jail. They made the Burmese who fell sick in the jail drink water from the toilet as well. They released me on 29 March 2012 after my boss came and collected me from the jail, but they have taken away my work permit green book”, said the worker.

He said that it is difficult for any Burmese to assist their fellow nationals in the Chinese jails and that he was released because his Chinese boss picked him up from the jail.

According to sources, an estimated 5,000 Burmese migrants are currently in the jails in the border towns on the Chinese side.

News is spreading on the Burmese side that four days ago, the Chinese police arrested 10 Burmese women who included gem-stones traders and made them sit up and down and stripped naked as punishment in the jail, and later released them.

Nasaka and foresters smuggle out timbers to Bangladesh

Khine Thein

Maungdaw: Officers of the Burmese border security force Nasaka and the forestry department in the border townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Arakan State are smuggling timber into Bangladesh, said local wood cutters.

Burmese timber in Teknaf jetty ( Photo by DVB)

“A Nasaka officer and a forester are now smuggling out timber and bamboo to Bangladesh after forcibly buying them from us. We have to sell our products to them even though they pay a much lower price for the products because they have restricted us from selling the products to others”,said a wood cutter from Kyeinchaung Village in Maungdaw.

He said the officers who are working together with their cross-border illegal trades of timber and bamboo are Captain Than Swe of the Nasaka and Forester Ngwe Than of the forestry department, which are based in Kyeinchaung Village.

“The officers are now forcibly buying one cubic feet of yellow-champak at 2,700 kyat and 100 bamboos at 2,500 kyat from us, but they get 3,600 Taka for one cubic feet of champak and 3,200 Taka for 100 bamboo sticks after smuggling them to Bangladesh”, he said.

The border currency exchange rate between Burma and Bangladesh at present is 930 kyat for 100 Taka.

The wood cutter said that those officers are forcibly buying the timber and bamboo from the wood cutters in the villages of Kyeinchaung, Khamaungseik, Taungbro and Aungthapyay in northern Maungdaw Township.

A villager from Bukali Village in Buthidaung Township also said army, Nasaka and forestry officials based in the area force the local villagers to cut woods for their cross-border trades as well.

“The army, Nasaka and forestry have come to our villages of Bukali and Thanzay and forced the villagers to find and cut the wood of Yellow-Champak from the nearby jungles, as the Champak can earn high prices in the markets of neighboring Bangladesh”, said the villager.

According to the source, Major Lin Myat from the Military Operation Command or Sa-Ka-Kha (9), the forester and Nasaka Captain Nyan Thu of the Saidin have forced the villagers to cut wood for them, in order to smuggle out the wood to Bangladesh in partnerships with local businessmen.

A resident living in a village on the bank of Naf River in Bangladesh also said the exports of Burmese timbers through the land port in Teknaf in Bangladesh are currently increasing as the timber is now directly coming from Maungdaw, situated on the other side of Naf River opposite of the port.

“The export of Burmese timber through the Teknaf port into Bangladesh is currently increasing because the timber is coming into the port not only from other parts of Burma by sea route, but also directly from the Maungdaw crossing of the Naf River. The port here is now jammed with timber boats coming from Burma everyday”, said the resident.

The timber is not officially allowed to be exported to Bangladesh, but timber is smuggled out into Bangladesh from Burma with the involvement and collusion of Burmese officials.

According to the local villagers, no one dares complain of the violations perpetuated by the army and Nasaka forces to the higher authorities as those forces are the most powerful institutions in the border townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Arakan State.