Drowned men return, but no escape for the living

November 17, 2016

There seems to be more trouble for the Rohingyas from the beleaguered village tracts of Sau Ra Gazi Bil (Dah Gyi Zarr), Bor Gazi Bil (Yai Khut Chaung Kwa Son), Sa Li Frang (Myau Taung) and Ra Bai La (Kyar Goung Taung) as Tatmadaw are on the alert for the escapees. Already they have arrested around 70 men who had escaped from these villages. The area suffered a deadly army assault that Rohingya activists say have killed more than 150 people over the weekend. The men were hiding in the paddy fields near Raimbágúna on Tuesday. 22 people were taken to custody while the others were released after severe beatings.

There seems to be no place for the villagers to go as they are confined to fields near besides Mun Gala (Tha Yet Oat) which have become open-air prisons guarded by Hlun Htein forces. The humanitarian situation has worsened with two infant children and a 65 year man, dying on the field on Thursday. An outbreak of diarrhoea is causing immense suffering especially for the infant children made worse amid the complete absence of medical facilities. The village administration in lieu with the Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein forces have refused entry to the Rohingyas and have put severe restrictions on their movement and prevented locals from going to their aid. The stranded Rohingyas have no access to humanitarian aid as the government refuses to grant entry to international organisations. Those stranded on the field tell our correspondents they want to escape to Bangladesh as soon as possible. That is not happening at the moment.

Although the place is near the Bangladesh border, heavy security restricts the movement of Rohingyas and they are forbidden from going towards the border. Many who have tried to escape to Bangladesh have been killed in recent days.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh says they will prevent influx of refugees and have pledged support to Myanmar for cracking down on Muslim rebels.

The Rohingyas in the area are mostly women, children and elderly people as the security forces are arresting the younger men and taking them to unknown locations creating fears they have either been severely tortured, or killed.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses have reported six corpses floating in the rivers near Sau Ra Gazi Bil. Locals say they are victims of the massacre of Saturday night when Tatmadaw opened fire at Rohingyas who had escaped the neighbourhood, and many had tried to save their lives by jumping into the river, often in vain.

Bura Shida Para

At least one child was killed and three others were critically injured when Tatmadaw launched rocket attacks at Bura Shida Para (Oo Shai Kya) on Wednesday.

Local sources say the troops surrounded the village tract and started firing rockets in the area at around 1pm.

During the attack, four children were critically injured. One of them died later. The condition of the three others are also critical (pictured below) and they are very likely to die as Rohingyas have no access to medical care.

As the Tatmadaw launched rocket attacks, the Rohingyas fled in the direction of the nearby hills but many, especially the women were apprehended. There are reports many of the women have been raped.

Activists have often accused the Tatmadaw of using rape systematically as a weapon to destroy the social fabric of ethnic communities and demoralise the enemy before taking over the land.

There are unconfirmed reports that some others have been hit by rockets as they tried to flee to the hills. Most of the men had fled the area much earlier as Bura Shida Para has faced continuous assaults since the first day of the ongoing crackdown with any men found by the Tatmadaw either killed, or taken to prison with no one having knowledge of their condition or whereabouts.

Ludaing

Meanwhile 11 people were arrested from the paddy fields near Ludaing (Doe Tan) on Wednesday. The men were hiding but were spotted by Tatmadaw personnel scouring the area. Another man was brutally assaulted by the soldiers for no apparent reason. He was left unconscious in the field and there is a chance he will succumb to his injuries. There is no information concerning the fate of the arrested men.

Ludaing has faced continuous assaults since the first days of the crackdown with many killed, several missing and women raped. The latest round of attacks started on Monday. At least two children were killed when soldiers charged at the village shooting at the fleeing Rohingyas.

They also entered the village tract on Tuesday and detained women and sexually abused them by touching their private parts and passing lewd comments.

Kul La Bil

Around 52 houses, two mosques and a madrasa were reported to be destroyed by rocket fire since the Tatmadaw started targeting the village tract on Wednesday morning. Rockets once again fell on the area on Thursday morning. Most of the rockets fell on Mura para and Bazar para of the village. The Tatmadaw is targeting the area from a distance. There are fears that Tatmadaw will enter the area in the coming hours.

Wa Beik

Tatmadaw kept up attacks on the now destroyed hamlet of Wa Beik. It seems the entire neighbourhood will cease to exist in the coming hours as the Tatmadaw is going house to house and burning it down.

The neighbourhood of Wa Beik and the bigger village of Kawa Bil has been under attack since Hlun Htein alleged the locals were harbouring Muslim rebels and ordered them to evacuate the area.

Maungdaw South

As the situation focuses on Maungdaw North, two brothers were brutally attacked in the South where the Tatmadaw enforces a strict blockade making it difficult for villagers to get access to food.

In Kullung, Md Rafique and Fazal were brutally attacked when they went out of the village to catch fish on Wednesday. Locals say although the south has been spared the horrors of the north, the security forces have placed increasing restrictions on movement making it extremely difficult for locals to get access to food.

Mamra

Rakhine miscreants attacked Md Junaid, 17, and hit him with choppers 16 times as he was guarding paddy in Sammoli para of Mamra (Minby). He was left unconscious in the field.

The attackers are known miscreants who hail from a neighbouring Rakhine settlement.