Burma Times Correspondent: January 23, 2015
The military battalion 345 has been extorting money from villagers in the Hashurata area at Northern Maungdaw on charges of having Bangladeshi mobile phones.
Locals say that the men were arrested and tortured in military custody until their families paid a huge amount of money to the authorities.
The families of Syed Alam, Sabbir Ahmed and Md Ayuf arrested on January 11 paid up to 200,000 kyats for their release. At least two others were arrested on similar charges the same day.
Earlier arrests were made in the area on December 25 on similar charges.
Local influential collaborators known as tabbes have been allegedly pointing out young men who use Bangladeshi phone numbers.
Many Rohingyas use Bangladeshi phones to contact with their relatives who have fled to that country. At least 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to the neighbouring country following brutal persecution in Arakan where the present population is now estimated at less than a million.
In an earlier incident, two soldiers from this battalion Kyaw Thein Aung bearing ID No. 784491 and Kyaw Hla Tun bearing ID No. 447318 raped a Rohingya woman in October 2013, according to Rohingya Vision TV.