April 25, 2017

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Maungdaw- Tensions continue in the restive village tract of Lound Don in Maungdaw North as the Tatmadaw retains a huge presence in the surrounding hills and forests.

People have stayed cleared of the hills where they earn their livelihoods by logging, and even the small shepherd boys have been unable to graze their cattle. The blockade is creating another potential disaster for the already volatile rural economy ravaged by months of conflict. At the same time, the villagers remain in a high level of alert, ready to hide in case the army launches another raid, which it has resumed over recent weeks in Lound Don.

Lound Don was one of the village tracts targeted by the Tatmadaw during the clearance operation last year, with many killed, women raped and mosques desecrated.

However, while since January, much of the area has experienced an eerie calm, tensions have broken out in Lound Don over the last month, with continuous raids. No deaths have been confimred, but there has been arrest and brutal torture, with many of the men having their beards burned.

Torture of Rohingyas continue to be a common occurrence. Hundreds have been killed and many more maimed due to torture by security forces.  

April 25, 2017

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Buthidaung- Hlun Htein forces entered Yon Chaung and seized identification papers from eight people.

The forces entered the village at around 10 am and launched a house by house search, seemingly to check if all the residents were local people enlisted in the family list. However, they alleged that eight of the men had suspicious papers, though they have been residing in the village for a long time and had their names in the family list.

All their identification papers were seized and the eight men have been asked to report to the station at a later date. It is likely their entire families are about to face similar circumstances.

In the absence of papers, Rohingya Muslims can face all sorts of baseless allegations such as being terrorists from another part of the country or a recent intruder from Bangladesh.

In such cases, victims are often forced to leave the country to escape arrest and torture. 

April 25, 2017

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Maungdaw- A religious student is missing after being apprehended by Hlun Htein forces in the restive village tract of Maung Hna Ma in Maungdaw North.

Zubair was walking in the street on Tuesday at around 8am when the security personal intercepted and searched him. They found a phone with a Bangladesh SIM card in his possession.

Generally, in these cases, the Rohingyas are let off with a fine and low level assault. However, the Hlun Htein treated Zubair much more roughly and have taken him to an undisclosed location. As a result, there is tension in the area concerning his whereabouts.

Incidentally many Rohingyas keep Bangladeshi phones to keep in touch with friends and relatives on the other side of the border. At present, almost half of the Rohingya populace reside in the neighbouring country.

Local sources are saying security forces are getting tougher as there seems to be a sentiment that the ‘final solution’ i.e. the complete destruction and expulsion of Rohingya Muslims is about to come and as a result they are adopting more stringent measures against Rohingyas.

Maung Hna Ma was also one of the villages where there was a high level of violence during the recent crackdown. 

April 23, 2017

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Maungdaw- Villagers at So Parang, Rathedaung have been given strict orders to stay out of the hills, in what looks like a rigorous and systematic measure to starve the Muslim community out of the area, according to local sources.

Announcements were made by loudspeakers and banners were hung throughout the neighbourhoods of the village tract ordering the Rohingyas not to go to the hills.

As most Rohingyas in the village are loggers, the order will result in mass starvation in an area already suffering from chronic food shortages as all livelihood options are now absent.

Rohingya villagers in townships including Rathedaung, Kyauktaw, Mamra, Pathor Keela and Akyab have been surviving in a state of blockade since the riots of 2012. Since October, 2016, the blockade has extended to parts of Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

 Rohingya activists have long alleged this is a systematic effort to keep the Rohingyas away from the woods and waterways from where they can earn a living, thus create starvation and force the beleaguered community to move out of the area.

However, this week’s order in So Parang seems to be an even more methodical approach, creating concerns the government will be improvising on the blockade tactic to force Rohingyas to migrate out of the country without capturing the international attention that came with the recent crackdown. 

April 23, 2017

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Maungdaw- A teenage boy was severely assaulted and left in an unconscious state by Rakhine shopkeepers in a marketplace.

On Thursday at around 2pm, 17 year Shafi Ullah, a water carrier by profession went to Taung Pyo to collect dues from some Rakhine shopkeepers who owed him money. But instead of giving him the money, shopkeepers fell on him and brutally beat him up. They only ceased the attack once Shafi fell unconscious.  

Rohingyas at the spot later took him to a local hospital but they refused to treat him. Most hospitals in the state don’t grant entry to Muslim patients.

Shafi was later smuggled across the border to Bangladesh for medical treatment. He gained consciousness a day later and is still in a critical condition. 

April 20, 2017

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Maungdaw- Tatmadaw forces raided the restive village tract of Lound Don in Maungdaw North on Monday and tortured two local men.

At around 2.30 pm, the forces entered the neighbourhood of Hanti Para. As the military approached, the locals sensing trouble scattered and ran away to the mountains.

However, two men could manage to flee in time and were intercepted by the military. They are Yunus, 30, and Zamir Hossain, 55.

The military stabbed Yunus in the back with sharp weapons. They also punched and kicked him mercilessly.

Zamir was also brutally beaten up and his beard was burned by the military.

Lound Don was one of the village tracts targeted by the Tatmadaw in the recent clearance operation, with dozens killed and many women raped.

Many have disappeared in the violence. Much of the populace has currently taken refuge in Bangladesh. 

April 17, 2017

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Buthidaung- Tatmadaw personal assaulted worshippers in a mosque on Sunday.

The Rohingyas were performing their evening prayers when around 25 to 30 soldiers surrounded the mosque in Hansa Para neighbourhood of Kyan Taung.

They ordered the worshippers to come out of the mosque one by one. Each one was severely beaten up as they came out in a single file.

Some of them have suffered severe injuries. As they were being slapped, the military shouted out abuses against the Islamic religion. 

 

April 21, 2017

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Maungdaw- The prison inmate who died in Kyaukphu was arrested for marrying without permission.

Sirajul Haque, 33, died in Kyaukphu after spending a long time in the notorious Buthidaung prison.

Buthidaung prison is the most notorious torture centres of Arakan. It is alleged that Sirajul faced intense torture in Buthidaung prison before he was transferred south to Kyaukphu prison.

Sirajul, an inhabitant of Bassara in Maungdaw South  had to flee to Bangladesh after marrying without the permission of village authorities in 2012. Under the laws of the state, Rohingya Muslims must have permission for marriage. 

Later he thought it was safe to go back, but was arrested in August 2014 after local collaborators pointed him out to the security forces. He was taken to Buthidaung prison where he was mercilessly tortured, allege local sources in Maungdaw.

Two months back, he wrote a letter to his mother requesting 100,000 kyats but his family could not manage the sum. As a result, Sirajul was further beaten up and did not get treatment in any hospital due to his inability to manage the sum.

He died on Wednesday after suffering from prolonged torture and diseases.

Inmates in Buthidaung prison, including those arrested during the recent drive have had their hands cut off from the wrist.

Many have also said that each morning, they were ‘beaten like snakes’ with rods. Often the ordeal went on for hours.

Others have said that as soon as they were taken to the prison, their body parts were broken, one by one, starting with the fingers.

During the riots of 2012, guards unloaded two to three dead bodies every night, all of them having died from torture.

There was heavy secrecy and security surrounding the funeral of Sirajul.  

 

April 20, 2017

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Maungdaw- Two corpses were recovered from Nari Bil in Northern Maungdaw on Monday.

Locals discovered the corpses in the mountain side adjacent to the Sangribil neighbourhood.

The dead bodies have been identified as belonging to Abdul Hamid, 52, and Sayed Hossain, 31. Hamid was the father-in-law of Hossain. They were killed by the Hlun Htein sometime during a two day operation on October 11 and October 12 last year. Locals are assuming the security forces buried them in unmarked graves to hide the actual death toll.

The recovered corpses have now been buried following proper Islamic rituals.  Earlier last week, two other corpses were also dug out from the ground in Nari Bil. 

April 16, 2017

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Maungdaw- A huge detachment of Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein forces entered the restive village tract of Lound Don in Maungdaw North on Sunday.

The forces charged batons indiscriminately at the villagers causing the Rohingyas to scatter in different directions.

Many have been arrested.

Details are unclear as the entire area is on the run.

Lound Don was one of the village tracts on the receiving end of the clearance operation last year and there is widespread panic that the situation might go out of control any moment.

April 21, 2017

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Maungdaw- Three men were grievously assaulted by BGP forces in Ga Ra Ta Bil, Maungdaw North.

Mololy, Abdur Rahman and Mohammed were talking besides the local mosque when the Hlun Htein personal suddenly turned up and started beating them up without showing any reason.

They also took cash worth 35,000 kyats from Moloy.

The victims have received serious injuries but are currently out of danger.

A tense situation is prevailing in the area. 

April 18, 2017

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Maungdaw- Tatmadaw once again entered the restive village tract of Bali Bazar in Maungdaw North on Sunday and charged at the Rohingyas causing terror in the area. 

Bali Bazar was also one of the villages targeted during the clearance operation and naturally the sight of Tatmadaw personal send panic waves across the entire neighbourhood casuing everyone to flee. Also the military men, numbering almost a hundred advanced aggressively and rapidly sending the impression they were ‘going in for the kill’.

However the army then announced over loudspeaker that those who have fled in response to the army advance were affiliated with the terrorists, as innocent people would have reacted differently as they had nothing to fear from the army. So everyone who had fled in sight of the Tatmadaw would be caught and dealt with accordingly.

This has caused consternation among locals as everyone but the collaborators had fled the advancing army.

Our correspondent says that during the clearance operation, the army did not distinguish between men, women and children in Bali Bazar and shot indiscriminately at everyone. Video clips showing terrified women and children fleeing Bali Bazar as army forces advanced went viral on the social media in October 2016.

Tatamadaw officers also held a long meeting with the collaborators. The subject of the meeting is not known to our correspondent.

They also announced over loudspeaker that every inhabitant’s name will be checked in the family list.

April 16, 2017

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Maungdaw- A massive fire broke out in Zamoinna bazar at around 2pm on Sunday causing extensive damage to the marketplace.

As locals rushed to the scene to put out the fire, Tatmadaw personal on duty threatened the Rohingyas and ordered them to stay away.

The attitude of the military personal has created suspicions the marketplace was set on fire intentionally by miscreants backed by the security forces.

Zammoinna was one of the village tracts in Maungdaw North that was at the receiving end of atrocities committed by the military last year.  

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