Rohingyas flee Bura Shidha Para in face of renewed attacks

December 30, 2016

Rohingyas from the restive village tract of Bura Shida Para in Maungdaw North have been hiding in the wilderness since the last few days as Tatmadaw launch fresh raids on their settlements.

Since Sunday, the forces have maintained a heavy security presence in the area causing all inhabitants, including the women and children to flee their homes and take refuge under the open sky despite the harsh weather.

During the raids, three men were arrested with Bangladesh mobile phones. Two of them are Md Yusuf and Sawf Aji. The identity of the third man could not be known immediately.

Security forces allege the men were using Bangladeshi mobile phones to keep in touch with terrorists based in that country. Even before the current violence started, security forces made this allegation that those with Bangladesh mobile phones to contact Rohingya Solidarity Organisation, though terrorism experts have long considered the group to be defunct.

Many Rohingyas in the Maungdaw region use Bangladeshi mobile phones to keep in touch with their relatives in that country. Around half a million Rohingyas are currently living in Bangladesh, with around 30,000 running away in recent weeks to escape ethnic cleansing by nationalists and security forces.

Relatives of those arrested say they will be brutally tortured in custody. Many arrested in recent times have had their eyes gouged out while many others had their hands cut off from the wrists.

In earlier raids, many including the children were apprehended and brutally tortured in custody. Many women were raped, or sexually molested in public view.

In October, multiple eyewitnesses have reported numerous corpses floating in the river adjacent to Bura Shidha Para.

The prolonged raids are leading to fears the lull in violence in place since mid December might not last.