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June 7, 2017

An elderly Rohingya shepherd has been brutally attacked by a Buddhist nationalist gang and soldiers in Mamra on Sunday, according to local sources.

Syed Amin, aged around 50 years was at a grazing field near the village of Hadara Para when a gang of 12 men accompanied by three Tatmadaw personal showed up in the area and started assaulting him, according to his testimony.   

Locals allege the 12 attackers belong to the local Ma Ba Tha outfit.

Amin is currently in a critical condition and one of his hands have been totally broken in the brutal attack.

Village administration has refused to take action against the perpetuators though those responsible are very well known in the locality.

Rohingya Muslims frequently face attacks by gangs backed by security forces when they venture outside their settlement. Activists have long alleged this is a systematic policy to prevent the Muslim populace from earning a livelihood, by cutting them off from the waterways, forests the grazing grounds and the markets. This leads to artificial starvation and forces the Rohingya communities to move out.

The situation is especially dire in the southern townships where Rohingyas have steadily become a minority community following decades of oppression. 

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June 6, 2016

Maungdaw- An undeclared curfew is forcing Rohingyas on the border village of Taung Pyo in Maungdaw North to stay indoors, according to our correspondent in the area.

Since last week, a huge contingent of Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein personal have flooded the area and set up checkposts. They are checking everyone for NVC cards. Anyone found without the identity card is being harassed and many have been forced to give hefty fines. Many locals also say the on duty personal cursed them and the Islamic religion in foul language.

The NVC scheme, which identifies Rohingyas as Bengalis and only grants them a temporary residence in Arakan, has been snubbed by most Rohingyas and so most people cannot travel outside their homes.

Locals are saying that even walking from one house to another in the same hamlet has become risky as there are a huge number of soldiers in the area.

The situation is similar in all the hamlets.

Locals are also fearing that at one point, the army will enter their homes, rape the women and take away the men for torture.

An extremely tense situation is prevailing in the area as there are fears of gruesome atrocities that have become even more common in recent months following clearance operations in the Maungdaw North area. 

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June 5, 2017

Maungdaw- Many villagers have been arrested and severely beaten up in custody on allegations of being associated with Muslim rebels in the coastal areas of Maungdaw South, according to our correspondent in the area.

A source has said that most of these men have since been released after being severely beaten up in custody. All of them had to pay a huge amount of ransom money, making their families go bankrupt, said the source.

The arrests started on Tuesday when a man named Bulu was apprehended by Hlun Htein when he went to visit his in-laws in Hassu Rata. The forces searched his mobile phone and took numbers belonging to men in the nearby village tract of Knone Na Para.

Following that two other men were arrested from the area.

These two men were taken to the local camp in Hassu Rata and severely tortured. Following that, the Hlun Htein made several more arrests mainly from the area, though it is not known on what basis.

Sources say the two men from Knone Na Para were made to give up names of some social workers who have been advocating for the rights of the Rohingya populace. 

June 5, 2017

evacMaungdaw- A village administrator from Godusera, Maungdaw South was kidnapped and killed on Sunday.

Nurul Amin was kidnapped from his home shortly after the dawn prayers. Later at around 8am, locals discovered his corpse lying near a waterway a short distance from the village tract.

Nurul had injuries from sharp weapons to his stomach and his throat was cut. The victim is known as a pro government man and there are fears that his murder, though committed by unidentified assailants will lead to a crackdown in the village tract.

Though Godusera was relatively calm during the last crackdown, it is known as a hotspot for violence against Rohingyas. 

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June 4, 2017

Buthidaung- Tatmadaw forces once again raided Shab Bazaar in Buthidaung on Friday night, and apprehended three men.

As the forces reached the village, locals who had been on alert for the last few days due to continuous raids and enforced dissappearances fled as soon as the Tatmadaw men approached.

However, the military forces chased down and took away three of the men who were trying to escape. They have been taken away to an undisclosed location.

A source has said that during the escapade, an old man had fallen at the edge of a pond and remained unconscious for two hours before others discovered him and came to his aid. He has sustained injuries in his eyes and face.

Night raids leading to arbitrary arrests and disappearances have taken place in Shab Bazaar on a continuous basis for the last few days, with many being whisked away without specific charges and their whereabouts remaining a mystery with family members fearing the dreaded torture common in custody and even death.

 

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June 2, 2016

Buthidaung- Tatmadaw forces raided Shab Bazaar after midnight on Thursday and arrested five people on charges of being associated with Rohingya rebels, according to our correspondent in the area.

The military started the arrests at around 1am, but by 4am, three were released as their families had agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of kyats in ransom, effectively giving away all the money they had to save their sons.

However, families of two of the arrested men did not have enough to please the military and they have been taken to an undisclosed location.

Raids, arbitrary arrests and disappearances have increased in the Buthidaung area in recent months, with many being whisked away without specific charges and their whereabouts remaining a mystery with family members fearing the dreaded torture common in custody and even death.

In the remote northern areas of the township, many including infant children have been killed in recent months, according to testimonies of newly arrived refugees in Bangladesh.

Most of the cases have gone undocumented. 

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May 30, 2017

Teknaf- Cyclone ‘Mora’ made landfall on the dawn hours of Tuesday on the South Eastern Bangladesh coastal area, destroying almost all the huts in Kutupalong and Balukhali, according to our correspondent in the area.

Local media reports indicate that 350,000 people were evacuated especially from the outlying islands in the Bay of Bengal where cyclones can cause severe damage including deaths.

In the refugee camps, pregnant women and the elderly were given shelters in the hospitals, while many of the children were taken to the schools in the night.

The cyclone Mora for which Bangladesh had braced itself with the highest disaster alert however lost much of its strength before making landfall, according to metrological reports.

Bangladesh is better prepared than most countries to handle severe cyclones, as the country had lost hundreds of thousands of lives in the past century.

However, all the shelters in the newly constructed Balukhali camp and the Taal area of Kutupalong experienced severe damages and most have been destroyed. Much of the populace are now left under the open sky.

However, no casualties have been reported.

News from inside Arakan is yet to come as bad weather disrupts communications.

Primary reports indicate that Rohingyas in many parts were not expecting a cyclone. 

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June 4, 2017

Maungdaw- A huge number of Tatmadaw personal raided Ludaing in Maungdaw North on Saturday and looted valuables and destroyed Rohingya property, according to our correspondent in the area.

Since the raid on Ward 5 of the village tract, the Tatmadaw has camped out near the Rohingya settlements. They also have some women and alcoholic drinks with them, leading to fears among the local populace that they will carry out atrocities in an intoxicated state.

Many people say the military entered their houses, ransacked property and took away anything they could get their hands on.

Ludaing was one of the village tracts targeted by the Tatmadaw during the recent clearance operations with many being killed and raped.

A huge part of the populace has already escaped to Bangladesh.

Renewed tensions are prevailing in the area following the Saturday. 

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Aid workers warned on Wednesday of an "acute crisis" in Bangladesh after a cyclone destroyed almost the entire camp in Kutupalong Taal and Balukhali, leaving many without food or shelter.

Cyclone Mora had made landfall on Tuesday, albeit at a lesser impact than expected, according to meteorological sources of Bangladesh. Even then, the flimsy huts of the unregistered camps did not have much chance.

There is an acute crisis of food, shelter, health services, water and sanitation facilities in the makeshift settlements following the storm," Sanjukta Sahany, local head of the International Organisation for Migration, told AFP, "The drainage and toilet system have been fully broken."

Meanwhile, many refugees are spending days without food.

While Bangladesh has one of the best evacuation systems in the world, refugees say they did not receive sufficient warning about the storm and many food stockpiles have been destroyed.

Meanwhile Save the Children has warned that an outbreak of diseases might affect the children, especially for the unregistered refugees. 

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Buthidaung- Three women were raped by the military when joint forces launched an operation in Buzzaikong in Kyan Taung on Sunday, according to sources in the area. As they entered the restive village tract, they got hold of all the women and gathered them find in a field.

At this time, three women were taken aside and raped by Tatmadaw personal.

The men had earlier left the area as any male found is arrested, tortured and even killed since the start of recent operations in the area.

Dozens of women have been raped in the Kyan Taung area since the second week of May after the army launched operations to destroy suspected rebel bases near the village.

The remote areas of Buthidaung have been tense since April and many including infant children have been killed, according to testimonies collected from refugees who had fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks. However, owing to the remoteness of the area, information has been very difficult to get and the incidents of killings and rape have mostly gone undocumented.

Rights groups have alleged the Tatmadaw uses rape as a weapon of war to demoralise ethnic minorities and destroy the fabric of their society. 

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June 4, 2017

Nine children and two teenagers were rescued by Malaysian police on Friday, according to reports in the Malaysian media.

New Straits Times reports that the victims were discovered in a confined space at the premises by a team from the Secret Societies, Anti-Vice and Gambling Division of the Dang Wangi police headquarters.

Malaysian police say the victims were to be sold to begging syndicates at a price of RM 1,200 to RM 1,500.

Documents seized from the premises indicate that six children had already been sold off.

Six Myanmar nationals aged between 25 and 30 believed to be involved in the criminal syndicate that is involved in Rohingya human trafficking were arrested from the spot. 

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May 30, 2017

Akyab- Three women have been arrested by La Wa Ka officials in the Akyab (Sittwe) airport on Saturday after they tried to go to Yangon with fake pink cards, according to our correspondent in the area.

The detainees are Rehana, 18, from Saki Para, Rezwana, 20, from Saki Para and Noor Nahar, 18, from Dabaing.

La Wa Ka has charged all three women and sent them to police custody.

The living conditions in the Akyab Rohingya settlements, more accurately the IDP camps have been described by international observers as ‘being among the worst in the world’. Our correspondents and sources have said many people are desperate to escape the dire conditions and go anywhere, including taking risky endevours like this one which results in long jail terms and torture in custody.

Only a handful of Rohingyas have access to pink cards, given to full citizens in the country. Yangon and other places outside Northern Arakan are strictly off limits for Rohingya Muslims.  

May 29, 2017

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Buthidaung- Military personal accompanied by Armed Police Officers entered Shabb Bazaar in Buthidaung and assaulted Rohingyas while looting poultry and other assets from their houses on Sunday, according to our correspondent in the area.

Victims have said the security personal went on a rampage, taking chickens and anything they can get their hands to, including cash and other items that could be stowed away at convenience.

When they came across houses where they could not find anything lootable, they assaulted the occupants of the house.

A huge Tatmadaw contingent have been posted in the Buthidaung regions as the forces carried out secret operations in remote village tracts, killing many including infant children and raping scores of women, according to testimonies collected from refugees who had fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks.

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