Four face brutal torture in Kullung, houses torched in Nol Ban Na

December 20, 2016

Three men were arrested by the Hlun Htein from Kullung in Maungdaw South on Saturday at around 2pm.

They are Hamid Hossain, Abul Kashem and Kamal Hossain. They were arrested as per the ‘confessional statement’ of one Abir Rahman, who had pointed out these men as his aides for terrorism related activities, the Hlun Htein officials told the villagers when they were making these arrests in the Paschim para neighbourhood of the village tract.

Abir Rahman was the first to be arrested on December 13.

Sources say the arrested men have been brutally tortured in custody. Torture of Muslim prisoners is common in the custody of security forces where hundreds have gradually died a painful death, especially since 2012. In the recent crackdown, many have been killed by torture. Many prisoners have had their eyes gouged out while others had their hands cut off from the wrists.

Locals say the four arrested men are from the marginal populace who rely on day labour for their survival and have never even been involved in any political activities.

In a separate incident, Hlun Htein entered the Bara para neighbourhood of Nol Ban Na in Maungdaw South on Monday and set fire to seven houses. They alleged the owners of these houses had hosted ‘outsiders’ in their homes without proper authorisation of the village authorities.

Under the laws of the state, Rohingya Muslims are forbidden to leave their village or host guests without the permission of village authorities.

Locals however claim no outsiders had entered their village in recent days.

Maungdaw South has been relatively peaceful during the ongoing crackdown as the Tatmadaw led forces concentrated on the northern regions of the township. However in recent days, there have been a number of arrests and at least two executions in the region amid a gradual build up of forces leading to fears of a wider crackdown.

One injured in Bura Shida Para assault

A Rohingya man was critically injured in an assault by Hlun Htein forces near the restive village tract of Bura Shida Para. Hamid Hossain is in a critical condition following the assault.

Since the beginning of the Tatmadaw led crackdown on Rohingyas in Maungdaw North, Bura Shida Para has been under continuous attack, resulting in many deaths, with eyewitnesses reporting dead bodies floating in the adjoining river. All the male folk fled the village as any found by security forces were killed, or taken to custody where they faced brutal torture. In recent days, as the crackdown became less intense, some are returning home. Amid food shortages, many are desperate to start fishing on the river and other livelihood alternatives for which they have to leave the village. As this incident demonstrates, this is a risky choice.

Bangladesh authorities destroy newly built Rohingya huts

Bangladesh forest department officials destroyed around 120 huts erected for the newly arrived Rohingya refugees. The incident took place in the Kutupalong unregistered refugee camp on Monday at around 10 pm.

The flimsy shelters made out of plastic shelters and bamboos were built on land owned by the Forest Department of that country. Locals told our correspondent that while they are aware this is illegal, there are no alternatives for thousands of Rohingya refugees who have streamed into Bangladesh following a draconian crackdown led by the Tatmadaw. Bangladesh government does not recognise these Rohingyas as refugees and have blocked much needed humanitarian assistance, thus limiting the options for the refugee population.

Since the demolition, hundreds of refugees have been living under the open sky in the cold weather.

There are allegations by the Bangladeshi media that influential local leaders, both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas have cashed in on the misery of the newly arrived refugees by taking a vast amount of money from the desperate populace in exchange of giving them an illegal abode on land held by the government of Bangladesh.

The forest officials have threatened other illegal structures will also be demolished spreading panic among the refugee population.