MYANMAR TROOPS COLLECT TOLLS FROM THE MONEY GIVEN TO THE POOR BY A FRENCH NGO
Buthidaung, 1st February 02: The recipients of the monetary support from NGOs have been forced to pay back a chunk of their subsistence allowance to the village leaders and the Myanmar troops, according to a trader from Taungbazar market of Buthidaung in the northern part of Rakhine State in the south-western part of Myanmar.
A Canadian official Ms Erin accompanied by three local staff of the French NGO, ACF (Action contré la Faim), went to Zidung-bedo village and Ngaraing-chhaung village by a speedboat and distributed some money to the poorest people in the area on
As soon as they left after their work, a platoon from Light Infantry Battalion 551 stationed at Taung-bazar battalion headquarter, Buthidaung township, and the local village headman came and collected kyat 500 from each recipient as money needed for giving security (?) to
the visiting ACF officials.
ACF is working in northern part of Rakhine State, drilling wells and ponds (for drinking water) and also on food security programme
(micro-credit, delivery of chickens and goats, small income generating projects generally for widows or women who are head of families, elderly people and very poor families). ACF is one of a number of international NGOs engaged in the region.
The trader told our correspondent that, whenever NGO officials or the State Peace and Development Council junta officials visit the area, the villagers there are forced to pay tolls to the Burmese troops accompanying those persons on security grounds, on the plea of having to spend in purchasing food and drinks for themselves. #
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