Burma Border Guard Police (BGP) in Rakhine State have been charging Rohingyas travelling from Maungdaw Northside to central Maungdaw a toll since 1 October according to Ali Ahmed a passenger who had to pay the toll.
He said that all the people from Maungdaw Northside travelling to central Maungdaw to go to market or do other things have to pass the BGP headquarters gate where the BGP are forcing only Rohingyas to pay the toll.
When vehicles reach the gate only the Rohingya passengers have to get out of the vehicle, those of other ethnicities are allowed to remain in the vehicle.
The BGP guards then check all the Rohingyas' documents, such as their travel passes and their green ID cards. Rohingyas have to carry their green ID cards, which are now finally being issued after a long delay, at all times. But, whatever documents the Rohingyas are carrying, they all have to pay 500 kyats according to Hakim, a trader who uses the road.
According to Kawlim Ullah, an elder from Maung Nama Village, a group of 20 villagers from Maung Nama Village Tract who travelled to Maungdaw Town on 3 October were forced to pay 500 kyats each to be allowed to pass the BGP gate, despite them all having the required green ID cards
AbuTayub, an ex-village administration officer from Maungdaw South said that Rohingyas from Maungdaw Township are forced to pay at every road and bridge checkpoint whether they have the correct documents or not.
He said that Rohingyas who want to travel to other areas, such as Buthidaung and Maungdaw Market, had received green ID cards, but that many Rohingyas are not taking the cards, even though the authorities are trying to force them to take the green cards by harassing and discriminating against those Rohingyas who do not have them.
Abu Tayub also said that Rohingyas suffer a lot of discrimination and many restrictions in their day to day life in Burma despite having been established in the country for centuries.
Edited in English by Mark inkey for BNI