Raid in Rathedaung for speaking to UN: two feared dead, women sexually assaulted

November 6, 2016

The village tract of Dunse in Rathedaung was raided by the Tatmadaw following a visit of an UN delegation to the area. Many Rohingya women were sexually assaulted and at least two men are feared dead after being taken away during the raid.

At around 2am on Saturday, a huge team of Tatmadaw launched the raid in the village. Soon, the soldiers herded all the Rohingyas they could find, out of their houses. They started assaulting the Rohingyas, while many of the women were sexually molested. Tatmadaw soldiers also passed lewd comments and made insulting remarks about the Islamic religion.

The process lasted till 3pm in the afternoon, during which time, the villagers numbering up to four hundred were made to stand and bear beatings and humiliation. Many were seriously injured in the merciless assault. The soldiers taunted them saying no UN would be coming to rescue them and the Tatmadaw was in control.

Five religious scholars were brutally assaulted and taken to the custody of the armed forces. They are identified as Md Halim, Rahmat Ullah, Abul Kasim, Md Shomu and Md Syed.

Some sources say that two of those arrested have been killed while in custody. They are assumed to be Shomu and Syed.

Death in custody is very common for Rohingyas. When Rohingyas are arrested, especially in turbulent times, friends and neighbours often consider them as good as dead. Hundreds have been killed by security forces since 2012, mostly after brutal torture which leads to a slow and painful demise for the prisoners.

During a visit of an UN inquiry team to the area, villagers in a rare protest move held up banners calling for genocide against Muslims to be halted and a peaceful coexistence as citizens of the country. This was despite army orders to stay away from the UN.

During the raid, many Rakhines accompanying the security forces took away livestock, poultry and rice stocks from the village which has been suffering from chronic food shortages. Villagers say following the raid, they don’t have any more food stock left. Rohingyas in the area are cut off from going to the waterways and the woods from where they could have derived a living.un 1