Starving Rohingyas face extortion in Rathedaung

November 3, 2016

Police is extorting Rohingya villagers in Ore para, Rathedaung amid growing food shortages in the region. Only on Thursday, at least seven people were forced to pay a huge amount of money to the police on trumped up allegations of aiding Muslim rebels. Many others had been extorted in the previous days.

One of the victims, Syed Kashim, 27 told our correspondent that he was accused of leaving the village and travelling to Anak parang to consort with rebels. He was forced to pay 30,000 kyats on Wednesday, or face prison and torture. Similar accounts were related by other victims.

The victims say that even without any extortion, their families face severe shortages. There has long been a blockade on villages in the area as Buddhist nationalists backed by security forces prevent access to the nearby woods and waterways from where they can earn a living. To make matters worse, last week a local MP ordered Rakhines not to trade with the Muslims, thus cutting off all access from the markets.

In such a situation, villagers can ill afford to part with the minimum amount of savings some of them have, and extortion by police is making many of them bankrupt.

Muslim activists allege this is a systematic effort to deprive Rohingyas of food, create starvation and force the beleaguered community members to migrate.ra