May 16, 2017

Buthi terror 

Buthidaung- Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein personal have indulged in a mass rape orgy in the restive village tract of Kyan Taung in Buthidaung.

On May 8, hundreds of personal entered the middle hamlet known as Ali Roa and detained everyone they could find. The detained, both men and women were herded into a field. At this point, some of the women were taken to a secluded place and raped, according to testimonies of the victims. Some of the men were severely assaulted.

The forces then went on a long search and detained more than a dozen women who were hiding in one place. All of them were sexually assaulted and many were raped.

Activists have long alleged the Tatmadaw uses rape as a weapon of war to demoralise ethnic communities before taking over their land. 

Troops also looted valuables from the homes of the Rohingyas at this time. Many who had worked hard to come up with savings have lost everything, and don’t know how their families will survive in the coming days.

Operations also took place on May 9, May 10 and May 11 but details are not forthcoming. Kyan Taung is a remote village and it takes some time for information to reach from local correspondents to our editorial desk.

It is assumed that operations have continued at full pace since May 11 to May 16 till publishing of this report.

The government announced beginning of clearance operations in Kyan Taung after an explosion killed two Rohingyas and wounded two others near Themi. The government alleges the explosions took place as an accident of bomb making but locals allege the Muslims were targeted by a Buddhist nationalist gang backed by the authorities. The explosion tool place as Wirathu’s visit raised tensions in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung region.

The Tatmadaw has been committing gruesome atrocities, including killing of infant children in the remote regions north of the Taung Bazaar area in Buthidaung in the last few weeks. The remoteness of the region makes it very difficult for our correspondents and other Rohingya media outlets to collect authentic news. 

 

May 15, 2017

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Maungdaw- At least three men were detained and many including women and children assaulted as Tatmadaw forces raided the restive village tract of Bali Bazaar once again on Saturday.

At around 8am, the force numbering around a hundred surrounded the hamlet of Shonali Para and forced the residents to an open field. One half of the team surrounded the locals, while others went into the homes and turned it upside down. Later locals reported many of their valuables, especially cash and gold items were missing.

The military then asked questions about Muslim rebels and hit many of the villagers during this questioning, some of them women and children.

Three men were then pulled away from the crowd and taken away by the military.

Local sources allege they are facing brutal torture in custody.

Many men apprehended in similar fashion have gone missing, presumed to be dead.

Bali Bazaar was one of the village tracts targeted by the Tatmadaw in October 2016, and scores have been killed and abducted, many of them children. 

May 15, 2017

 IDP Camp 3

Maungdaw- Local government officials accompanied by security forces held a meeting with villagers from Kawa Bil, Maungdaw North, on Friday.

During the meeting that took place in the destroyed hamlet of Wa Beik, the officials told the government would be ‘kind enough’ to shift the Muslim population to an IDP camp where they will be given ‘grants’ to build shelters.

The villagers told the officials that if they were really kind towards the affected population, they would be allowed to go back to their original homes. The officials replied harshly that it was the government decision and not subject to negotiations.

Kawa Bil was evicted and burned down in mid October last year amid gruesome atrocities that included planned executions of civilians, rape and abduction of women, and killing of children. The entire village, especially those in the Wa Beik area were burned down and everybody was driven out.

Much of the populace has since fled to Bangladesh while the rest have erected shanty huts in marshlands and other places alongside their former habitats.

The government has told villagers that all destroyed homes are now their property and Rohingyas will be moved to ‘model villages’, a synonym for IDP camps. The space allocated for this IDP camp will hardly hold even the remaining populace of Kawa Bil. 

Villagers in the other destroyed areas of Northern Maungdaw have been given similar directives. 

14 May, 2017

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Maungdaw- As mosque attendees were coming out of their prayers in Garaita Bil, Maungdaw North, Hlun Htein forces fired in their direction. The shots were however aimed above the heads of the Rohingyas and no one received any injuries.

The forces then surrounded the Muslims and brought out a list of people whom they said were ‘terrorists’. As terrified onlookers watched on, two men were pulled away and shoved roughly, with the Hlun Htein alleging their names belonged in the list.

After a detailed check, they however confirmed the two men were not on the list.

Others were also checked and informed that as yet, they were not on the list. They were then warned that if anyone on the terror list were found in Garaita Bil, they would meet the same fate as their neighbouring villages of Maungdaw North.

During the operation, the Hlun Htein maintained an aggressive look, treating the mosque attendees very roughly.

Garaita Bil lies on the edge of the area where Tatmadaw conducted clearance operations last year, killing more than a thousand, including infant children who were thrown into fire. As a result, residents are naturally terrified. The aggressive nature of the Friday’s Hlun Htein operation has raised further fears about the future in an area already reeling under the terror of recent Tatmadaw operations in the very near neighbourhood. 

May 14, 2017

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Maungdaw- Local authorities backed by Hlun Htein have started widening the roads in Ward no. 5 of Maungdaw South, in the process damaging the houses of Rohingyas.

The road construction work started on Friday.

Locals say the government has never paid heed to the sorry conditions of roads in Rohingya neighbourhoods. But even though these particular roads are comparatively wider than many of the roads in Muslim settlements, they have suddenly started work to broaden this road. They allege this construction work to broaden the roads is nothing but a ploy to destroy Rohingya homes.

Last year, the state government declared that around 3500 houses and  other structures belonging to Rohingyas will be demolished as they don’t have proper ‘authorisation’.

Sources from the area say the widening of roads might be part of that project to systematically knock down Rohingya owned structures. 

May 12, 2017

 kutupalong

Teknaf- A 13 year girl was kidnapped from the Kutupalong refugee camp and forced to marry a 60 year influential local man in Kutupalong.

Rabeya had arrived along with her family from Na Sa Gru following the recent Tatmadaw operation and settled on the temporary shelters erected alongside A block of the Kutupalong unregistered camp. The area is controlled by a local influential man Hamidul Haque who collects rent from the refugees.

About a month back, Hamidul started making indecent approaches towards Rabeya. When his father Hossain Ahmed protested the incident, Hamidul slapped him and threatened him with dire consequences if he ever dared to open his mouth again.

Matters took a more serious turn when Hamid and two of his henchmen forced Rabeya, his father Hossain and mother Sufiya Khatun to accompany them to Cox’s Bazar on April 24.

On reaching Cox’s Bazar, Rabeya was forced to take the marriage vows. When her parents protested, they were confined to another room and grievously assaulted.

After that the parents were told to go back to Kutupalong camp.

Nobody has seen or heard from Rabeya since then.

May 10, 2017

 army 2

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 14, 2017

 bgp

Maungdaw- Panic is prevailing in the village tract of Ang Dhang in Maungdaw South after Hlun Htein officials called a meeting with community elders on Friday following Jumma prayers.

During the meeting, Hlun Htein told the Rohingyas that they have information that ‘terrorists’ are hiding among the local populace. They threatened the Rohingya population with dire consequences and said they will meet the same fate as the destroyed village tracts of Maungdaw North where gruesome atrocities were committed last year in the name of clearance operations.

The part of Maungdaw South has not seen any rebel activity but locals are now fearing the security forces will stir up trouble and commit systematic ethnic cleansing similar to Maungdaw North. Villagers have also been ordered not to come out of their homes after evening. There are also fears the security forces will tighten the blockade of the village and prevent locals from going to the waterways, thus depriving them of a livelihood and create systematic starvation.

Rohingya activists have long alleged the government blockade on Muslim settlements is a well devised strategy to deprive locals of their livelihood and force them to move out to Bangladesh.

A tense atmosphere is prevailing in the area.

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 9, 2017

 images 5

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 13, 2017

 mosque

Maungdaw- Hlun Htein personal accompanied by notorious collaborator Saw Deya attacked mosque attendees in Hassu Rata following Isha prayers on Thursday.

The group surrounded the mosque in the Tula Para hamlet following the end of prayers and began to hurl abuses at the people inside the mosque. At one stage they went inside and started slapping some of the people who were at the prayers.

Since the incident, locals are saying they cannot attend prayers in the local mosque.

Incidentally the coastal village of Hassu Rata is ruled by the notorious collaborator (tabbey) Saw Deya who is involved in human trafficking. Hlun Htein and Tatmadaw Yay forces also maintain a strong presence in the area. 

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 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. 

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