October 4, 2016

Meanwhile in Meiktila, a city of central Myanmar, in the Mandalay region, Buddhist nationalists prevented Muslims from returning to their homes destroyed during the 2013 riots.

BBC Burmese Service reported a hostile mob refused to move out and many more were mobilised to prevent the Muslims from returning to their old homes. The Muslims have been turned out in March 2013 when Buddhist nationalists organised a pogrom killing scores from the minority community.

In recent months, the new government in a charm offensive led by Aung San Suu Kyi has tried to improve Myanmar’s image and is trying to show the world that steps are being taken to stop persecution of the beleaguered community. However, discrimination against Muslims continue, and there are fears that violence will continue.March riots 2013

Riots in Mandalay region, 2013

October 2, 2016

Eyewitnesses claim the presence of armed men in the May Yu mountain range.

On September 26, eight wood collectors from Baguinna in Maungdaw South went to the hills to collect wood when they noticed scores of armed men. The witnesses claim there were around 70 of them.

The Rohingyas hid as soon as they spotted them. Local sources claim the men are likely to be from the separatist Rakhine outfit the Arakan Army.

On the same day, local sources in Kiladong claim one of their shepherd boys witnessed around twenty armed men in the forest east of Godusera.

The presence of armed men have raised fears in the Maungdaw region as both security forces and the Arakan army have anti Muslim sentiments.aa logo

praying for foodOctober 1, 2016

The Muslim villages of Anak Parang and Mujai are being gradually depopulated as severe food shortages are forcing Rohingyas to leave the area.

Our local correspondent reports Rohingyas have been cut off from all livelihood options, and there is no food aid. However, those moving out of the villages are from the relatively well off who can afford to settle somewhere else, while the poorest of the poor continue to stay on. Those left often do not eat for days, and generally depend on starch to survive.

While fishing and logging are the two remaining livelihood options for most Rohingyas in Arakan, Rakhine nationalists backed by government forces have long preyed on those who venture out of their territory to reach the rivers and forests from where they derive their livelihood. In Mujai and Anak Parang, livelihood activities have gradually come to a standstill, owing to continuous attacks by hostile Rakhine neighbours. Since then, they have been dependent solely on food handouts.

A report by the Frontier on September 12 confirmed the WFP has cut food aid to internally displaced persons to "support the transition to recovery in [parts of] Rakhine State … from March to December 2016”.

Activists have long warned Rakhine nationalists and government forces have employed a well devised strategy to starve out Rohingyas by preventing them access to livelihood and ultimately force them to leave the country. Locals in Rathedaung say the strategy is working well without attracting international attention.

October 1, 2016

Traffickers are torturing the son of a beggar for ransom in Thailand.

Amir Uddin, 14, from Baiya para, Kyauktaw went to Yangon in mid August in the compny of traffickers, according to local sources. He was then taken to Thailand. After reaching Thailand, traffickers confined and tortured him. His tortured cries were then relayed to his father Abdul Jabbar by telephone.

Jabbar says he didn’t know his son had gone to Yangon or Thailand and was shocked when he received the calls from his son as he was being beaten up by traffickers. Jabaar paid the traffickers 11 million kyats, but they want more. The poor beggar has been forced to sell all his possessions but is yet unable to save his son from torture.

Torturing victims in custody in Thailand has long been a strategy employed by traffickers to force ransom money from families. Last year, an intentional uproar caused by the discovery of mass graves in Thailand resulted in a crackdown by regional governments but in Myanmar, traffickers backed by influential patrons have continued their criminal enterprise, though the volume has drastically reduced.mass grave

September 28, 2016

A tense atmosphere is prevailing in Pathor Keela after Rakhine traders warned Rohingyas to stock up their supplies and not set foot outside their homes on Friday.

These threats were made at the Longraton marketplace on Thursday and although the rumours cannot be confirmed, terror has pervaded the Rohingya community. Many Rohingyas in the area have told our local correspondent they will avoid going outdoors on Friday. However, as Friday is the day of the Muslim Jumma prayers, there are fears that tensions will take place around the prayer congregations for which most Muslims are likely to venture out.

Much of these recent tensions are centred around the planned destruction of supposedly illegal mosques and Muslim houses. Ten days earlier, Arakan State’s Security and Border Affairs Minister, Colonel Htein Lin announced that almost 3,000 buildings associated with Rohingya Muslims, including 12 mosques and 35 madrasas would be demolished. The brunt of this operation is supposed to take place in Maungdaw, but there are fears in the minority Muslim townships such as Pathor Keela that hostile neighbours will use the demolishment plan as a tool for mobilising against the Muslims. Their panic increased after battles were thrown at a Rohingya rickshaw puller near the market place. The man identified as 35 year Kamal Sharif escaped unscathed from the incident.

Rohingya activists have condemned the demolition plan as part of a blueprint to annihilate the Muslims from Arakan.

Similarly there is terror and panic in parts of Maungdaw and Buthidaung town after reports that Hlun Htein officials have threatened a bloody Friday to wreak havoc on religious establishments and Muslim houses.destroyed mosque

Observer Desk

US president Barack Obama has told Aung San Suu Kyi that sanctions on the country will be lifted. The sanctions were imposed 19 years ago when the military regime had hinted it was not ceding power anytime soon. Since 2012, they were gradually removed when the regime began to carry out political and economic reforms.

The lifting of sanctions if carried out would allow US firms access to the lucrative ruby and jade trade, that had till now remained off limits.

Human rights observers have expressed dissatisfaction with recent developments fearing the lifting of sanctions would reduce leverage over the Tatmadaw.

The move is a sharp contradiction to current US policy as just four months before, the country’s secretary of state John Kerry had stated it would be impossible to lift sanctions without changes in the constitution that allows the army wide ranging political powers. The sudden reversal of US policies appears to be steered by diplomatic initiatives of Suu Kyi who has traditionally had good relations with the US.

 

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