International Response May Be Too Late for Rohingya

Thursday 25th October

Overnight we have been inundated with text messages, emails and phone calls reporting many many incidents where the Rohingya have come under an increased intensity of attack by the Rakhine. Whilst Restless Beings has perhaps the widest range of sources from across Arakan and Burma, we undergo a strict policy before publishing these reports. Until and unless we have six separate sources reporting a similar situation we do not publish.  Given this method of verifying sources and the long list of incidents below, it is clear to see that we face a dark perilous situation for the Rohingya in Arakan currently.  Tomorrow would have bought it with a day of religious celebration for the Rohingya in the shape of Eid Ul Adha - rather than celebration, Muslims across Burma will not be observing Eid in their usual way as a symbol of solidarity for the immense hardship the Rohingya are facing currently.  Since this escalation of violence, with great emotion, we can also report that three of our own sources have lost their lives.

Below is a summary by geography of overnight and day-time violence.

Rathedaung Township

This morning, in Yaung-Byin-Gyi village of Rathedaung Township, some Rakhine militia suruptitiously entered the village and set fire to some 20 Rohingya houses. Collectively, the Rohingya attempted to drive back the Rakhine militia which they did so collectively.  As the Rakhine retreated, on the outskirt of the village, a much larger Rakhine contingent has gathered, where the village expects to come under more violence overnight.

In another village, Samilapara, approximately 30 miles of Buthidoung, Army personnel who were posted around the village have shifted to nearby Rakhine villages.  Villagers from the village have contacted us with concerns of their security - they have taken the retreat of the army as a sign that an imminent attack by Rakhine mobs will take place.

Kyauk-Taw Township

This morning at daybreak, in Lat-Saung-Kauk village of Kyauk-Taw Township, Rakhine gangs attacked the village resulting in 8 people being severely injured, three people were killed and three children were arrested and taken away to an unknown destination by the gang.  While Rohingya villagers tried to counter attack the Rakhine armed mob, Rakhine policemen fired on the Rohingya. Eventually military personnel did step in and provide some security to the Rohingya and took the casulaties to their regiment medical facilities rather than the Government run hospital which is entirely staffed by Rakhine locals.  

At 7am this morning,at Ywa-Thit village of Kyauk-Taw Township, the same Rakhine attackers entered into the village by backing support of Rakhine police and then set fire to houses and three houses were burned into ashes, seven Rohingya were injured  by Jin-ga-li (similar to arrow) which were carrying poisonous substances on their tips.

In a more recent development approximately in the past hour or so, two villages namely Kaung-douk and Wa-kiin from Kyauk-Taw Township are encircled by Rakhine mobs and the Rohingya villagers are in a state of horror. At least 19 machine boats boarded by Rakhine were heading towards Kyauk-taw to participate with the local Rakhine people from Kyauk-taw township for a synchronized attack on Muslims of Kyauk-taw township.

While these boats were very close to anchor, they were interrupted on grounds of suspicion by the military units that have been in charge of security. 15 of these boats were found with weapons such as knives, bayonets, catapults, and deadly weapons and rifle guns. The military personnel have seized all weapons.

Surprisingly a military officer then arrested a Buddhist monk who had been found carrying a weapon. This is against the norm, as previously military have been involved in the onslaught against the Rohingya.

Further along the river, some weapons were found loaded on five machine boats that were also captured nearby at Pauktaw-Palaung village, Kyauk-Taw township area. Four pieces of guns were also confiscated by the military, according to eyewitness reports from the ground.

Mrauk Oo Township

Yin-Thea village or Zular fara: Since the violence started on 21-10-12, more than one hundred Rohingya people have been killed and some 2,400 villagers have gathered in a safe place on the outskirt of the village. They have however in this time been totally food-less, shelterless, and short of drinking water. People are afraid of drinking water because Rakhine locals spoiled all the pools and ponds with poison. The Rakhine villagers from all round enclosed this Rohingya village. People are in dire need of food, shelter, medicine and security. Many families have reported that young girls from the community where dragged away by armed Rakhine in the early morning - their whereabouts are unknown.

Myay-Bone Township

Regarding Myay-Bone township, all Rohingya people are displaced and they took shelter in the valley of the mountain nearby town. There are 4,000 people in the valley right now. 25 people have died in clashes and 300 people are severely injured by several kinds of wounds, such as stab wounds to the eyes, disfigured hands and arms after skirmishes with armed Rakhine and there are many more people who have sustained wounds by firearms without any treatment. They are without medical treatment, access to water, shelterless and of course running very low on food supplies.

Nai-Raung (Yadana-Bone/Taung Bwe helmet) village is being burned down
currently and details information about injuries, burned houses and
fatalities are not known yet exactly.

Minbya Township

Lomboichar village as reported yesterday, had been surrounded by 7,000 Rakhine trapping 2,000 Rohingya villagers inside.  Overnight and early morning, six further boatloads of Rakhine arrived from nearby Taunggup village to act as reinforcement for the 7,000 strong Rakhine force.  The Rohingya are expecting an imminent attack as nightfall descends. Urgent and desperate reports have been flooding into Restless Beings regarding this issue.  It is feared that any international response may be too late for these trapped villagers.