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June 17, 2017

Maungdaw- Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein personal went on a rampage in Gaw Du Thaya, Maungdaw South, alleging the entire village of sheltering ‘terrorists’.

Dozens of security personal entered the village tract on Wednesday at around 4.30 pm and started demolishing houses, according to our correspondent in the area. During this time, the occupants of the houses fled the scene but at least one was apprehended and taken away.

The security forces did not target any particular house but just started kicking and hitting at everything in their way. 19 houses were destroyed altogether.

The joint forces once again started demolition on Friday but postponed their work due to heavy rain, saying they would come back.

During the operation, the men shouted at the Rohingyas in filthy language cursing their race and religion.

A tense atmosphere is prevailing in the area since last week after a pro regime village admin was killed by unidentified assailants.  

Though Gaw Du Thaya has been calm during the recent clearance operations in Northern Maungdaw, it is known as a traditional hotspot for violence. The village is adjacent to Kila Dong, the site where dozens of women and children were hacked to death by a Rakhine mob backed by security forces in January 2014. 

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June 13, 2017

Maungdaw- A man was arrested and is being brutally tortured in custody as authorities declare curfew in the coastal village of Hassu Rata in Maungdaw South, according to our local correspondent.

Syedul Islam was arrested on Friday at around 8pm by BGP and Armed Police officers.

Local sources have confirmed Syedul is an accused in the murder of infamous village administrator Nurul Amin in Godusera.

The accused man is being brutally tortured in custody, according to sources. Torture in custody has resulted in the painful deaths and permanent disabilities of hundreds of Rohingya Muslims in the last few years.

Meanwhile as locals in Hassu Rata remain confined to their houses, there are fears that many will have to spend days without food as many of the villagers are dependent on a daily income for their survival.

At least 11 other men from the area reportedly face arrest over the killing of the village administrator in Godusera. 

 

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June 13, 2017

Buthidaung- Tensions are running high in the restive village tract of Ta Mi in Buthidaung North after a huge military force surrounded the area on Saturday to search for terrorists, according to our correspondent in the area.

They seemed specially to be looking for a 28 year man, who is known to be an assistant for a foreign remittance agent (hoondi businessman). His boss known as Haji Islam was arrested from the town area earlier in the week.

Sources say the arrested man Haji Islam is nothing more than a businessman and military has mistaken him for a financial agent funding Muslim rebels in the area. Haji Islam has been under brutal torture in prison since last week, leading to fears he might die in custody.

Custodial death is common in Arakan where the security forces are known to brutally torture prisoners leading to hundreds of deaths and permanent injuries, especially since 2012.  

There are reports that many others were arrested but later freed after assault in custody. 

Ta Mi has been tense since the first week of May when security forces raped more than 30 women in a matter of few days as they launched another security crackdown after suspected rebels were mysteriously killed in the nearby jungles.

Earlier on Friday morning, three men had pointed out to Armed Police officials that some Rohingyas in the village had anti government propaganda on their telephones. The three men Hamid Hossain, Abu Tayab and Anwar were generally well respected and known to be educated people in the neighbourhood. Local Rohingyas expressed shock and dissatisfaction at the conduct of these three ‘educated’ men and questioned how instead of aiding oppressed Rohingyas, they had joined forces with the regime for their personal benefits.

All of the accused men have reportedly been arrested but later freed after the payment of heft fines.  

On the same day, a huge military force raided Dabbensara village after midnight hours, according to a local source. They entered the village, scattered in different directions, and forced the occupants of the houses to gather in one place.

There, all of them including the women were forced to lie on their belly while the military pressed them on their backs with their boots and shouted out abuses in the Burmese language, many of them directed against the Islamic religion.

The military left just after fajr time, making sure none of the Rohingyas could have their sehri, the pre dawn meal necessary for fasting during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan.

Later the occupants going back to their houses found that many of the valuables including cash had been taken away by the military. 

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June 12, 2017

Maungdaw- Tatmadaw personal threw stones and sharp objects at mosque goers in Nsa Sa Gru on Wednesday, according to our correspondent in the area.

In the early dawn hours, the army entered the Pyoung Paik hamlet and began throwing stones, and sharp objects like broken bottles at the Muslim worshippers who were doing their ablutions with water (wudu) before starting the dawn (fajr) prayers. At this point, many Rohingyas were hit by the brickbats thrown by the army, with an elderly man sustaining critical injuries.

Due to the army attack, the locals had to refrain from going to the mosque.

Later at around 7.30 am, they took up aggressive positions and pointed their guns at the villages. Some of the soldiers then entered the houses and began snatching Rohingya property including solar panels, the sole means for most households to get electricity.

The looting has meant a huge loss for the already destitute Rohingyas.

Nsa Sa Gru was one of the village tracts attacked by the army during the clearance operations of late 2016. Dozens were killed especially in the first few days after the operations started on October 9 when a huge force invaded the village tract and shot at anyone in sight. 

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June 10, 2017

Hundreds of Ma Ba Tha and Arakan National Party (ANP) activists took over the streets of Buthidaung town on Friday as the army continues its brutal crackdown on the Rohingya in the remote areas of the township.

The protests started at around 1.30pm local time, when the Muslims traditionally hold their special Friday congregation (Jumma) prayers.

The rally organisers shouted over loudspeakers that the Muslims must go back to Bangladesh where they came from, or they will be wiped out.

Many Ma Ba Tha and ANP activists seemed very keen to immediately take up arms against the beleaguered community, according to the statements they made over loudspeakers.

The protests come at a time when the Tatmadaw has stepped up operations in the Northern areas of the township where lack of communications mean news of atrocities committed don’t reach the outside world.

The timing of the aggressive protests by the Ma Ba Tha and ANP has created suspicions that they are being backed by the military, according to local activists of Buthidaung.

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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June 8, 2017

Thousands of families displaced by the recent clearance operations are urgently in need of aid as the monsoon season looks to get underway, according to the UNHCR.

Speaking to the Democratic Voice of Burma, Andrew Dusek, the associate communications officer at the, UNHCR, said on Wednesday, “Many returnees are currently staying in makeshift shelters, which provide little protection from the weather. With the arrival of the rainy season, which has already caused significant damage to existing shelters in many parts of Rakhine, it is extremely urgent that people have a protective and dignified roof over their heads and are able to resume livelihood activities.”

Our correspondents say that locals have forcefully been prevented from repairing their houses and the local administration has bluntly informed them that the destroyed village tracts of Northern Maungdaw were now government property.

While many Rohingyas don’t have the resources to make new houses, even those that do have been ordered not to make the necessary repairs. They have been told the government will move them to IDP camps without giving them any specific reasons.

The IDP camps that exist in the southern townships and Akyab have some of the worst living conditions in the world, according to international media reports.

Rohingyas in many parts of Maungdaw are also prevented from going outside their village, thus creating conditions of artificial starvation, a time tested method of blockade enforced in the southern townships since the 2012 riots.

Earlier a report in the London based Independent said that more than a thousand children had died after the Tatmadaw cut off basic aid in Maungdaw and Buthidaung. 

3prision

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. 

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June 10, 2017

A huge contingent of Tatmadaw forces suddenly surrounded Gojjon Dhia in Maungdaw South and took up aggressive positions creating panic in the area, according to our local correspondent.

At around 10 am on Friday, the forces arrived and got out of their vehicles, aggressively pointing their weapons in the direction of the village. The village tract was surrounded from all sides and the Tatmadaw men even took up positons in the graveyard.

They maintained the position for few hours and then went away without any explanation. No arrests were made.

Gojjon Dhia has long been relatively peaceful and the sudden arrival of the Tatmadaw has led to confusion and terror. 

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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. 

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. 

 

army 1Buthidaung- Residents are fleeing Shab Bazaar and So Parang village tracts as military has engaged in mass rapes and lootings in the area, according to our correspondent in Buthidaung.

Communications have been difficult as everyone including our local correspondent is on the run due to recent ‘clearance operations’ in the area.

According to testimonies of refugees arriving in Bangladesh from the remote areas of Buthdiaung, many people in the remote Northern regions of the township including infant children have been killed in recent weeks. Most of the cases have gone undocumented.

While the men in the area have been living in the hill for days to escape arrest and torture, repeated cases of rape and sexual assault have now forced all the women and children to take shelter in the hills.

The advent of the monsoon season is making the situation even more difficult for those hiding out in the hills. 

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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 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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