May 11, 2017

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Maungdaw- Hlun Htein forces looted valuables during a night raid in the restive village tract of Ludaing in Maungdaw North and made threats to households whose family members had taken refuge in Bangladesh.

At around 11pm on Tuesday, forces from the nearby Naffura camp joined with personal stationed in a Ludaing school camp and entered the village, launching a house by house search. In the houses they entered, they turned it upside down and took all valuables especially cash and gold stuff.

The Hlun Htein personal also threatened households whose family members were not present during the raid. As Ludaing was one of the villages targeted by the Tatmadaw led forces during the recent clearance operations, much of the population had fled to Bangladesh. Hlun Htein however stated that these population had gone to the hills for terrorist training.

Locals allege the night raid by Hlun Htein was nothing but a pretext for robbery.

A tensed atmosphere is prevailing in the area as Hlun Htein has taken up positions and locals anticipate more raids in coming days in ‘search’ of the missing villagers which might serve as a pretext for atrocities.  

May 10, 20

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Maungdaw- A senior member of the Abdul Hakim gang was apprehended by villagers in Bassara on Monday.

In the evening, villagers were alerted to the presence of three members of the gang in the Shurali hamlet area of the village. Locals got together with sticks and chased the gang members. Two of them managed to escape through the hills but one of them was surrounded. He tried to scare off locals with the one shooter gun in his possession but was quickly apprehended. He has been handed over to the Police.

Locals are speculating the three men were in the area to plan yet another gang attack in Bassara.

The arrested man Abdullah is known to be a senior member of the Abdul Hakim gang and has a history of violent crimes including murder, robbery, extortion and drug trafficking. He has been in jail for a long time.

The incident takes place only two days after an attack by the Abdul Hakim gang was repulsed by locals.

The notorious criminal Abdul Hakim gang has long been operating in the area, frequently executing people who do not pay the extortion money. The gang has bases on both sides of the border and is allegedly backed by Bangladeshi parliamentarian Abdur Rahman Bodi, who represents his constituency in the Ukiya Teknaf zone which borders Myanmar from the Bangladesh side. 

May 10, 2017

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Maungdaw- A huge and heavily equipped Tatmadaw led force, along with some Hlun Htein and Police personal have started patrolling the destroyed village tracts of Northern Maungdaw.

The forces numbering in the thousands are heavily equipped and some are patrolling in 4 x 4 vehicles conditioned for warfare, many of them fitted with heavy machine guns.

Some of the personal have gotten down from their vehicles and approached community elders saying that unless they finger out the ‘outsiders’ in the village, clearance operations will resume in the area.

The village tracts surrounded by the latest army maneuvers include Bor Gazi Bil, Sau Ra Gazi Bil, Sa Li Frang and Ra Bai La.

These village tracts were attacked by helicopter gunships and rocket launchers resulting in some of the biggest civilian casualties of the entire three month long operation of 2016. After the first wave of attacks by heavy weapons on the villages, Tatmadaw personal armed with assault rifles went in to the area and threw infant children into the fire created by the previous helicopter and rocket attacks. Many men and women were apprehended and taken to undisclosed locations, where they continue to remain unaccounted for.

May 9, 2017

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Buthidaung- An explosion injured four Rohingya loggers in the hills near Kyan Taung in Buthidaung on Thursday.

Tatmadaw officials present in the area have immediately placed the blame on Muslim rebel outfit ARSA and have begun a combing operations around the Rohingya settlements in the area.

However local sources have confirmed the victims were Rohingya loggers who went to the hills for work and there is no link between the ARSA and this incident. The ARSA has previously been involved in attacks on Rohingya collaborators but the victims were all ordinary civilians out on a day’s job, say local sources. The ARSA is also known to be short of explosives and lacks the resources to launch an attack of this nature.  

Rohingya activists have said the attack on Muslim civilians have been timed to express solidarity with Ma Ba Tha monk Wirathu who is currently on a tour to the frontier regions. The tour shrouded with secrecy and mystery seems to have the full backing of both the Tatmadaw which has provided officials for Wirathu’s safety, and the local government dominated by the ANP which has expressed open and strong support for his campaign against Rohingyas and other Muslims in Myanmar.

Local sources have backed this statement saying it is the work of Buddhist nationalists backed by state forces to create a pretext for launching attacks on Rohingya civilians.

Many have expressed fears that the Tatmadaw is utilising Wirathu and his followers to create fertile grounds for a crackdown resembling the one that took place in Northern Maungdaw last year. In remoter regions of Buthidaung township, reports are coming that the army and their Rakhine collaborators are involved in the killing of Rohingya people including infant children.

The army has however stuck to its statement and has imposed a strict blockade on Kyan Taung and neighbouring settlements. As the local Rohingyas are dependent almost solely on logging for a livelihood, they have been unable to go to the hills for work since last week. The poorest section of the populace, dependent on a daily income are spending days without food.

Meanwhile on Sunday, a huge Tatmadaw force raided Kyan Taung. Almost all the male population was herded to a field where many were verbally and physically abused. No deaths or injuries have been reported but locals are fearing the crackdown might get more serious in the coming days.  

May 9, 2017

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Maungdaw- Gangsters belonging to the notorious Abdul Hakim group once again launched an attack in Bassara, Maungdaw North on Saturday.

At around 9pm, the gang surrounded the house of an elderly man named Nurul Islam from whom they had previously demanded extortion money. However, villagers alerted to the presence of the gangs swiftly got together and organised a counter resistance initiative forcing the intruders to retreat into the wilderness.

Two days earlier, the gang kidnapped and killed a local from the village as he was returning home from a neighbouring settlement. The corpse of the victim Hafez Arif Ullah was discovered in the woods the next morning by villagers who had launched a search operation.

Gangsters led by Abdul Hakim have long been operating in the area, frequently executing people who do not pay the extortion money. The gang has bases on both sides of the border and is allegedly backed by Bangladeshi parliamentarian Abdur Rahman Bodi. 

May 3, 2017

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Maungdaw- A tense atmosphere is prevailing in the village tract of Koe Tan Kauk in Rathedaung as the Hlun Htein is arresting innocent civilians on false allegations of robbery.

Since April 25, 13 men, including a school student has been arrested and taken to the Hlun Htein camp where they were beaten and threatened with dire consequences if they did not come up with ransom money.

The amount of money paid for their release has varied from 100,000 to 500,000 kyats, depending on the financial ability of the arrested people.

All the arrested men and boys have been released.

The latest arrests occurred on Monday when two men, Abdur Rahim and Rahim Ullah were arrested in the daylight hours in two separate raids. Abdur Rahim was released following the payment of 100,000 kyats while Rahim Ullah had to pay 300,000 kyats.

The nature of the arrests has led to fears this will be a long term operation where many harass innocent villagers will be harassed with the purpose of making easy money for the Hlun Htein, say locals.

Multiple sources have confirmed that all the arrested men are dependent on logging or fishing for a living and have no connection with criminal activities. 

April 28, 2017

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Maungdaw- A Police officer sent from Buthidaung to investigate the fire in an ancient Rathedaung mosque has told local Rohingyas on Wednesday to accept the fact that the fire was not an arson attack, but an accident.

The official told locals in Zay De Pyin that there is of course little doubt that a Buddhist nationalist gang has set fire on the mosque. However, he said that if the Rohingyas went on to publicise this arson attack, nearby Buddhist villagers and nationalist gangs will get furious and possibly launch an attack on the Muslim settlement. They will also block the Muslims from leaving their villages and create a blockade, leading to food shortages and other problems in the village.

Under such circumstances, the official said it is best that the Rohingyas say the fire in the mosque was caused by candles.

The mosque has however long been operating on solar power.

Charges have also been pressed against the Imam of the mosque for negligence, and eight members of the mosque committee were arrested, though later released.

Incidentally, at around 9.30am on Tuesday, a small group of miscreants set fire to the ancient mosque in the area. When local Muslims rushed to the spot, hundreds of Rakhines came to the mosque and surrounded them, shouting out obscenities against the Rohingyas and the Islamic religion.

However, the Rohingyas managed to douse the fire though it did cause some damage to the interior. As the incident went viral on social media, Rakhine supported groups have been propagating the view that Rohingyas set fire to their own mosques to discredit Buddhist nationalist groups. 

 

May 5, 2017

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A Rakhine mob pelted Rohingya 'firefighters' with stones and brickbats as they tried to put out a fire in the Aung Minglar neighbourhood in Akyab city onWednesday. 

At around 9pm, three houses were gutted by fire. Locals rushed to the scene to put it out, but  a Rakhine mob had already gathered at the scene which pelted the rescuers with a hail pf brickbats and stones. Three houses completely burned down in the event. The cause pof the fire is not known, but the response of the Rakhine mob has been met with constrernation by local Rohingyas.

Incidentally Aung Minglar is the only neighbourhood in the main town of the state capital where Rohingyas can live, since the riots of 2012. Akyab was once a mixed city where Rakhines had only a slim majority over the Rohingyas. But thousands of Rohingyas left after the riots, and the rest of the Muslim populace has been herded into the Aung Minglar ghetto where living conditions are dismal. The Muslims are guarded so that they cannot leave the Aing Minglar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2017

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Maungdaw- Three children, one teenager and an elderly man were severely assaulted on Saturday by Tatmadaw personal in Kullung, Maungdaw South. The youngest victim is only eight years old.

One of them, 16 year Md Ayoub is in critical condition.

Ayoub was coming back to his village from the grazing grounds when Tatmadaw personal fell on him and started beating him up with wooden batons. They only stopped after he was severely injured.

The same group of Tatmadaw men then chased other cow herders and assaulted those they could get their hands on.

The injured include Saleh Ahmed, 55, Abdu Shukkur, 12, Hefzur Rahman, 11 and Omar Farooque, 8.

Livestock such as cattle and sheep are major assets and a source of income for Rohingya households. Activists say this is a calculated attack to deter the Rohingyas, mostly small boys from taking their cattle and other livestock to the grazing grounds, and thus close down another source of livelihood for the beleaguered community.

Rohingya men, most of them currently dependent on logging and fishing for their survival have faced severe restrictions from going to the woods and waterways to earn a livelihood. Many who ventured out have faced attacks by Rakhine miscreants or security forces.

All of this seems to be a calculated ploy to enforce an economic blockade, create artificial starvation and force the populace to move out to Bangladesh, according to Rohingya Muslim activists.

Meanwhile the teenage boy Ayoub continues to be in a critical condition till filing of the report.  

April 28, 2017

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Maungdaw- A gang of human traffickers is once again active in three of the coastal village tracts of Maungdaw South. The gang led by four people, one based in Hassu Rata, one in Knone Na Para, and two in Gozon Dia are operating openly in full view of village authorities and the law enforcement agencies. Concerned citizens are worried about the resumption of human trafficking, but are forced to stay quiet, as the gang has many miscreants in their service, and more importantly are backed by the security services.

A ship is also reportedly waiting in the sea for their service.

The gang is convincing naïve men and women that this time, it would be much easier to reach Malaysia. They are saying the sufferings Rohingyas had to endure in the sea vessels and the jungle camps of Thailand are an affair from the past, and new migrants will not have to face the same problems.

Myanmar authorities, especially Hlun Htein forces were once heavily involved in the human trafficking by sea. However, the discovery of mass graves near jungle camps in Thailand led to an international outcry in mid 2015 and Myanmar cracked down on the illegitimate smuggling operations it had once whole heartedly supported.

The human trafficking operation served two interests of the Myanmar authorities - - it provided a lucrative multi billion dollar business, and it helped them get rid of the Rohingya people, a populace they have promised to expel out the country.

It is not known whether Myanmar will once again start human trafficking this year. The smuggling business has not been too active for almost two years.

However, it will also be difficult to conduct the business in these season as the seas are rough. 

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May 5, 2017

Buthidaung- Police arrested and tortured seven men from the Taung Bazar area of Buthidaung. 

On Wednesday early morning, a force numbering around 20, crept into the area through the Kur Khali neibhbourhood. They went into a house by house search and detained around seven men without any specific charges. 

Five were later released the next day. According to their testimonies, they were severely beaten up on a continuos basis and no explanation but curses were given to them. They are still in a critical condition and suffering from emotional and physical trauma due to the torture meted out to them. 

The conditions of the two others are not known but it is assumed they are also under brutal torture in custody. 

Hundreds of Rohingya prisoners have been tortured to death in recent years. 

 

 

 

April 29, 2017

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Maungdaw- Local administration officials and Hlun Htein forces went to the destroyed village tracts of Kya Ri Prang and Na Sa Gru in Maungdaw North and ordered displaced people to move their homes out of their former places to the marshlands.

On Friday, the officials went to these two villages where former residents of the village were now living in temporary shelters built on their former homesteads. The two villages were razed during the first days of the clearance operation and there are now no houses left standing. As a result, the Rohingyas who did not escape to Bangladesh have now erected small huts in place of their homesteads.

However, officials told the Rohingyas that as soon as their houses were hit by government forces, they have legally become the property of the government. So as per government order, they are to relocate to an area designated by them.

The area designated for them is on the marshlands, that gets submerged during the rainy season. Locals say it is impossible to stay in that area even in normal times, and during the rainy season, they can only live in boats and not houses.

Much of the residents of these two villages have fled to Bangladesh during the crackdown and most have not come back. Locals allege this is a ploy by the government to make the few remaining residents of Kya Ri Prang and Na Sa Gru leave for Bangladesh.

Earlier in February, Hlun Htein officials told villagers in Sa Li Frang, Ra Bai La, Sau Ra Gazi Bil and Bor Gazi Bil that all their land property previously held by the Muslims now belong to the government.

During the three month clearance operation, heinous crimes were committed by Tatmadaw led forces in these villages including throwing infant children into the fire, firing randomly at civilians, raping and abducting women, gruesome torture in custody and so on. 

April 26, 2017

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Maungdaw- A Rakhine mob set fire on an ancient mosque in Zay De Pyin in Rathedaung and then surrounded Rohingya Muslims who extinguished the fire.

At around 9.30am on Tuesday, a small group of miscreants set fire to the mosque which is said to have been built in the late 19th century. When local Muslims rushed to the spot, hundreds of Rakhines came to the spot and surrounded them, shouting out obscenities against the Rohingyas and the Islamic religion.

However, the Rohingyas managed to douse the fire though it did cause some damage to the interior.

Hlun Htein personal were present at the spot but did not do anything at first. However, at around 2am, they arrested eight Rohingyas who along with others were protesting the arson attack.

The arrested Rohingyas were released at around 8am the next morning, but were assaulted in custody and threatened with dire consequences if they pursued the matter. It has also been said they would later be called in for questioning.

A tense situation is prevailing in the area as Rakhine gangs maintain a vigilant position, with many fearing a repeat of 2012-like riots in the near future. 

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