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Myanmar Military Commander Torture and Stab a Rohingya IDP for Money

By Kyaw Hl and Aung Aung

Friday, May 16, 2014

zakirSittwe (Akyab), Arakan State- On 14th May 2014, Myanmar military of battalion 354 at Bawdupha village in Sittwe Township severely tortured and stabbed a 29-year-old internally displaced Rohingya for money. The second in command of the battalion started torturing internally displaced Rohingyas for money two months ago according to a local of the village.

“29-yeard-old Mohammed Zakir (son of) Anu Meah, originally from Narzi village- Setyun Zu Ward 10, is an internally displaced Rohingya living at Thakkay Pyin (Sakki Fara) IDP camp No.1, Sittwe (Akyab) Township. He worked at Jewelry Shop called ‘Shwe Naga’ under a Rakhine Businessman named U Than Myint @Naga Lay before June 2012 violence.

A 42-yeard-old Rohingya lady named Daw Fatema loaned Kyat 4,800,000 to the businessman, U Than Myint, also before the violence. And Mohammed Zakir signed as a witness in the loan agreement. On 13th May 2014, Ms. Fatema messaged the businessman via Mohammed Zakir that she wanted her money back. The businessman responded saying that he would be unable to pay back the whole amount in one shot but Kyat 500,000 monthly. Therefore, Ms. Fatema reported to Major HtunLin Aye, the second in command of the military battalion 354 at the village of Manzi of Bawdupha village tract, hoping that he would be able to solve the problem.

Therefore, the commander summoned Mohammed Zakir, a witness of the deal, to his camp. While Zakir was on his way to meet the commander, military forcibly took him to village administration office of Bawdupha. There, the commander started beating and torturing Zakir. He (the commander) demanded Zakir that either he (Zakir) or his (Zakir’s) family had to return all the money to the lady.

Zakir replied “I know Daw Fatema had a good business deal with my employer, U Than Myint. She loaned Kyat 4,800,000 to him. He’s a good person. To my knowledge, he has done nothing wrong unlike many other Rakhines. If she asks him, I am sure he will return the money.”

The commander summoned the Rakhine businessman who arrived after an hour. He felt upset seeing that his former employee, Zakir, was being tortured by the commander because of him. The businessman placed Kyat 4,800,000 before the commander and requested him to release his ex-employee. The Rakhine businessman said “you have no right to torture my son-like employee. Please release him now.” To which the commander angrily replied “it’s none of your business. You can leave now.”

HOWEVER, the commander only gave Kyat 1,500,000 to Ms. Fatema instead of returning her the whole amount, Kyat 4,800,000. When Ms. Fatema demanded the rest, the commander scolded “take the amount I have given you. Give thanks to me. And get lost right now.”

After Ms. Fatema had left, the commander asked Zakir to call his family to come with Kyat 300,000 ransom money for his release. When Zakir hesitated to do so, he was severely beaten, tortured and stabbed. Eventually Zakir’s uncle came with some money to get him (his nephew, Zakir) released” said a local Rohingya of Bawdupha.

“Now, Zakir can’t work properly because of the severe injuries. His uncle helped him to get back his camps. The commander has been harassing, beating and torturing local Rohingyas almost for two months to extort money from people. It has become quite unbearable” he added.