Burmese army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 289 extorted 180,000 kyat (US$180) from a group of ten Baptist evangelists in Paletwa Township, Chin State last week.
The company commander demanded the money after accusing the group of travelling and preaching without obtaining an official letter from the head of the Paletwa Township General Administration Department, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).
A member of the Christian group told the CHRO on condition of anonymity: “We told the commander that we had never had the letter before and that we didn’t know we needed the letter. But he didn’t accept what we said. So, we eventually gave him the amount that he demanded.”
The incident took place in a village of Pyee-chaung areas on 17 February when the Christian group happened to meet while on their journey with the army on patrol, based in Paletwa town.
He also said that they [Christian group] had been based in Paletwa Township for more than 10 years and that they had never heard of the need to obtain permission from the township admin head.
The next day while the group were travelling toward Paletwa town to get the letter, the general administrator of Khawei village returned 20,000 kyats out of the total extortion to them.
After having obtained the letter from the township general administration head, the Christian group continued their journey.
This article was republished courtesy of Chinland Guardian