Burmese Army Allow Further 2,300 Rohingya To Become Displaced

Over the weekend, updates and reports have been slow to come in as telephone contact has been almost impossible.  It seems perhaps the authorities exorcised some sort of temporary network block. On Saturday, in Kyauk Pyu town, where all Muslim houses were burned, the last of the Rohingya Muslims left for other safer areas.  It is confirmed that about 60 children and infants were left behind in Kyauk Pyu and their fates are not known, Moreover, some boats were intercepted by Rakhine pirates and 4 boats were sunk and many Rohingyas were died, The Rakhines rescued many Rohingya young girls form the water and had taken them away.

In Kyauk Taw town, the village of Nairang (Muzapara), 10 miles north of Kyauktaw was attacked by Rakhines and 80 houses were burned out of 135. Three Rohingyas were killed including revered Religious person Shamsu, son of Ali Ahmed. Others are Mohammad Kasim,son of Kala Miah and Roshida, daughter of Saayed Ahmed. Another village called Taungbwe was attacked. Rakhine gunmen numbering circa 80 attacked the village. About 75 houses were burned.  The Army reacted as Rakhines had guns and 16 guns were recovered and 25 Rakhine rebels were killed. In Alay para. 25 Rohingya houses were burned. Four Rakhine rebels were killed by army and in Pauktawli village, 4 Rohingya houses were burned.

Saturday saw international attention fall on the recent violence following HRW's report and Ban Ki Moon's statement.  Alongside this, Pres. Thein Sein also issued a statement insisiting that his Army would restore order.  This explains the Army's action and supposed support for the Rohingya on Saturday. 

This morning, however, we have once again received reports of an ineffective Army. In Pauk Taw township, 396 Rohingya houses were attacked by Rakhines. Whilst Rohingyas were being attacked with weaponry by Rakhines, NaSaKa (state border forces) torched the village. The Army looked on and did not prevent the violence. The violence was short lived as the Rohingyas were completely over-run and lost their houses through the arson.  The Army quickly moved the newly displaced 2,300 displaced people towards Sittwe (15 miles south west of Pauk Taw).

Below is a short opinion piece which had been written by one of our sources. He has asked to remain annonymous, but until 2011, was a highly respected journalist working for the most read newspaper in Burma at the time.

The overall security situation is very slowly improving in Arakan as the Myanmar Army has been given order control the violence. This comes after President Thein Sein responded to calls from the UN and other international nations on Saturday. As more details emerge, it seems on a wider level, that Rakhine governance and Burmese national governance are at odds. Upon closer inspection, however, many have argued that the national governance and Rakhine state governance are working in tandem. If security measures taken by the Rakhine state administration had been equal for all, the colossal loss of property and huge loss of lives of Rohingyas could perhaps have been avoided.

When the violence started in Maungdaw on June 8th this year, all the security forces including the army were given full authority to shoot directly at any Rohingya on sight and to carry a ruthless campaign against them. So, a very serious situation was created and repressive measures taken; draconian and eventually, bloody in nature.

Rakhines were given full freedom to attack any Rohingya at anytime and there was a complete breakup of law and order. Rohingyas were rounded up in the Nasaka sector 7 and also in and around Maungdaw.  Mass arrests ensued with confinements, beatnigs and many extra-judicial killings and mass rapes were reported. This was done to protect the 'Owners of Arakan; The Rakhines'  who constitute only about 10% of the Maungdaw township population. To protect them, ruthless reprisal attacks were unleashed on the mass 90% population; the Rohingyas. Rohingyas were completely blocked in their homes and were totally paralyzed and had suffered mass starvation. Thousands of Rohingya men and boys were randomly arrested on fictitious charges and now they are facing jail terms with up to 10 years sentencing terms. They have no right to hire a lawyer and no right to defend and on most occassions given long sentences without any evidences. They have none of these rights, because of course, Burma as nation, refuses to accept the Rohingya as citizens of its country. 

This second round of violence that began on the 21st of October were targeted at more remote villages where, whilst Rohingya villages were found, the townships were largely Rakhine populated. In Minbya, Mrauk Oo, Pauk Taw, Kyauk Taw, Kyauk Pyu and Rathedaung. Local Rakhine people teamed up with other Rakhines who had travelled in by boat and over land from neigbouring villages and townships. Unlike in June when Rohingya and Rakhine had attacked one another, the recent episode was almost purely one sided - this time, the local security forces - police, Lunhtin and other Rakhine governance officials have allowed passage to the Rohingya communities. In the presence of the local security, Rohingyas were left with almost no chance of defeniding themselves or their property. In those circumstances were there fewer or no local security present, the Rohingya were able to defend themselves somehwhat. And the reason for this? The local security, the police and Lunhtin, have been seen giving the Rakhine weaponry and petrol to accelerate fires. These are not isolated instances; many many reprts have come in of such incidents.

In this round of violence, thousands of Rakhines attackers are given permission to come to the troubled spots from far areas by boats, bus and trucks. To attack Rohingyas in Minbya, Rakhines were brought in from as far as Taunggup (250km, 4 hour journey) by boats and allowed to land and mix with local Rakhines. No arrests of Rakhines are made as of yet and at times they are told to go back only. So, the handling of the situation is so different, so biased.

It is highly questionable of the handling of the affair by the central as well as Regional Rakhine government. As Regional government is totally dominated by Rakhines (RNDP), the handling of affair is totally biased against the Rohinya. Rohingyas question why it was so late for national Army forces to come in and and control the situation and allow all these losses which could have been avoided. This is, we feel, deliberate. The strategy of the regional Rakhine government to have not allowed distressed and desperate Rohingyas floating in the bay without food and water for 3 days to make landfall speaks volumes of their intentions.. In the boats there are dead, sick and women - some with newborn babies. What an inhumane affair. This is an attempt to kill human beings in cold blood. This is an attempt to exterminate Rohingyas from Arakan. 

To raise awareness of the issue Restless Beings will be holding a Twitter event today, Sunday 28th October from 6.30pm to 8pm (UK Time)