More arrests and torture as Kawa Bil denied access to food sources

November 1, 2016

Hlun Htein arrested two Rohingya Muslims from Kawa Bil in Maungdaw and reportedly subjected them to brutal torture.

On Monday at around 4pm, the two woodcutters were returning from the nearby hills after collecting firewood when the border police intercepted them. On searching they found the sharp weapons that are used for cutting wood. However, the Hlun Htein personal claimed they must have been using these sharp weapons for attacks against security forces.

One of the arrested men have been identified as Shomsul Alam, 34 (s/o Mahmud Hossain). The details of the other man could not be known till filing of the report.

Relatives of the arrested men told our correspondent that they were fully aware that going to the woods might result in arrest and torture as security forces are vigilant to deny Muslims access to livelihood in what is regarded as a systematic effort to starve out the population. However, the men could not stand the hunger of their younger family members, and they say many Rohingyas in the area, especially the children are in critical health after not eating for days.

Many other Rohingyas in the Maungdaw region have been arrested after going out of their villages to collect wood and catch fish, currently the two main occupations for a large percentage of the populace, many who have lost their agricultural land during the 2012 riots. Some have even been shot.

Earlier this week, seven men were beaten to the inch of their lives and are in a critical condition after they went to fish near Sitar Pawrika, Maungdaw South on different occasions.

Meanwhile there are fears the arrested men would be brutally tortured in custody. Hundreds of Muslim prisoners have died under torture in custody and many more have been maimed since 2012.

Kawa Bil remains tense as security forces allege villagers led support to Muslim rebels who attacked a border post in the area. Earlier this week, the Border Guard Police ordered around 2,000 Rohingya Muslims in the area to evacuate their houses or face immediate destruction. Locals allege the security forces led by the Tatmadaw are using the attack by a handful of rebels to justify widespread attacks against civilians including murder, torture and rape of innocent civilians in Kawa Bil and much of Maungdaw where most of the Rohingyas reside.hills