Hill Voice, 2 August 2023, Bandarban: There have been allegations of increased armed movement and extortion by army-backed UPDF (democratic) terrorists in Alikadam Upazila of Bandarban district recently.
It is also known from local sources that these terrorists are demanding large sums of money from various Jumma-Bengali businessmen by posing as ‘Shanti Bahini’, sometimes as ‘Kuki-Chin army’ and threatening them.
There is panic among the local people as the movement of these terrorists, extortion and threats are happening almost openly and under the nose of the administration. Some local people complain that the local leaders of Bandarban district of the ruling party Awami League are also behind these terrorists. They alleged that these terrorists could be brought there to dominate the area and use them for narrow interests with an aim at the upcoming national elections.
Several local people, who did not want to be named, said that the UPDF (democratic) armed terrorists were demanding money from various grocery and drug store traders in Alikadam upazila through mobile phones.
It has been reported that on May 25, 2023, an armed group of 20/25 UPDF (democratic) terrorists led by Mongenu Marma and Kalachokha Chakma alias Atal Chakma rented a house in Bharat Mohan Para of Panbazar area of Alikadam Upazila. From there, they go around different areas showing their weapons, sometimes collecting money from different businessmen through mobile phones.
According to a source, last June some businessmen of Alikadam upazila were called and demanded extortion by a number claiming as ‘Shanti Bahini’ in the morning and on the same day at night extortion of Tk 50,000 was demanded from a businessman by the same number who claimed himself as ‘Kuki-Chin army’.
A Bengali businessman, who did not wish to be named, complained that the people of the area are fed up with the extortion and harassment of the UPDF (democratic) armed terrorists Mongenu Marma and Kalachokha Chakma Atal in Alikadam. They often collect money from businessmen or people with different identities and reasons. He said that the incident of extortion and harassment under the nose of the administration is really sad.
Local villagers said that UPDF (democratic) and Reformist terrorists are often seen roaming in different areas of Alikadam till late night. Even though the administration knows about them, they remain ignorant.
Villagers said that these armed terrorists regularly collect extortion from Alikadam upazila, especially Panbazar’s Amtali Long Ghat, cattle market area traders and various timber traders.