Sittwe: The regional government in western Burma’s Arakan State has undertaken field investigations on 11th of May on a matter that was signed and petitioned by over 600 local people.
“They came to Aungdaing Village on 11th of this month. They summoned and investigated the villagers. We, villagers, have also told them of the troubles we have been facing which they understood”, said Ko Nga Yaung Chay, one of the villagers.
Aungdaing Village is situated in Sittwe Township in Arakan State. The village and other nearby villages are said to have been troubled since the headquarters of the western command and the military intelligence in partnership with two local Muslim businessmen have blocked and dammed up a creek in the area, on which the villages were dependant on for shrimp farming.
“It has been already over 20 years since the western command and military intelligence jointly with wealthy Muslim businessmen, U Khin Maung Hla and U Mongular, have blocked and dammed up the creek on which we were depending for our livelihoods for our shrimp farming business. Over 10,000 villagers from 15 villages along the creek have been greatly troubled since the creek was blocked, and over 600 of them have recently submitted a signed petition to the state government demanding it be opened immediately. That’s why a team from the government have come to investigate the matter”, said Ko Nga Yaung Chay.
The Minister of Security and Border Affairs, Colonel Htin Lin, is said to have led the government’s investigation team, in which the Minster of Electricity, U Tha Lu Che, Minister of Cooperative, U Mya Aung, the Lawmaker of the Regional Parliament from Sittwe Township, U Aung Mra Kyaw, and senior officers of the departments of land and fishery in the region were also included as members.
“We have found out that all villages along the creek are being troubled as the creek is dammed up at its mouth. The villagers cannot go out to the river and sea for fishing. They cannot carry their products such as bamboos and thatches. Their traffic depending on the creek is totally cut off and they are not allowed by the army to use the creek. It has been now over 20 years that villagers have had such troubles and the government’s ministers have also witnessed how the blockage of the creek has affected the villagers”, said U Aung Mra Kyaw, a lawmaker of the regional parliament from Sittwe Township.
It is learnt that the investigation team led by Colonel Htin Lin has already submitted their fact-finding report on the creek to the Chief Minister of Regional Government, U Hla Maung Tin.