Rohingya Update: Arson Attacks, Extortion & Threat of Third Massacre
Despite the media attention waning, the suffering in Arakan continues. Our source in the region has sent us alarming updates of the terror that befalls them. The Rohingya are consistently victims of crime, with no recourse to any kind of justice or peace.
The arson attacks continue
Further to our update last week another blaze of arson attacks have devastated Rohingya families. Last Friday (March 8th) in the area of Shikdarpara (Myoma Kayindan) 5 houses belonging to the Rohingya were set alight. Despite the fire brigade station being just 200m away, no emergency action was taken to extinguish the blaze.
More arson attempts were made yesterday in the southeast area of the Kayindan village. One house owner bravely confronted the group of five arsonists; though they fled, one young Rakhine boy was caught. The Rakhine boy was armed with a bottles of petrol, turpentine liquid, cut up cloths, one match and a knife. He had confessed that he had intended to burn the buildings to the ground and admitted he was from the nearby Buddhist Monastery. In the morning he was taken away by the Police and despite the reports and evidence from the crime scene, the Police later informed the village that the boy was not to be blamed for the attacks and the issue would not be taken further.
NaSaKa: Baseless Arrests and Extortion
The Rohingya continue to be scapegoats for any crime or ill fate. Last week reports of a missing gold chain belonging to the wife of a NaSaKa Officer led to the random arrests of all Rohingya men, women and children who were at the nearby NaSaKa camp station at Shweza (number 14). They were all kept for two days without food or water, questioned and tortured. Three people have since been released, but only in return for a high price paid to Captain Kyaw Myint, who is in charge of the NaSaKa camp.
We have been given the names of those arrested in hopes that they will be released unharmed immediately.
1.Rufia Begum (D/O Amir Ahmed, 16 years old)
2.Mumtas Begum (D/O Mohammad Salam)
3.Mazuma Khatun (D/O Abdullah)
4.Rafiq (S/O Islam)
5.Rukhiya (D/O Dawlu)
6.Noor Begum (D/O Master Rashid) – released – 800,000 Kyats paid
7.Alam (S/O Kala Meah) – released – 1000000 Kyats paid
8.Mohammad Rafique (S/O of Jalal) – released – 1500000 Kyats paid
The most vulnerable are particularly preyed upon. Rufia Begum, the youngest of those arrested and a female was taken out of the camp every night to be raped by a NaSaKa Officer. Every morning she was returned to the camp and begged her fellow inmates to help her end her life.
Saturday March 9th a group of men dressed in NaSaKa uniform forcefully entered a Rohingya house in Shewza, looting 700,000 kyats of cash and gold ornaments to the value of 10 million kyats and stabbing both the house owner and his young daughter. Despite the crime being reported, the rest of the villagers were told that there would be grave repercussions should they dare share such reports.
Despite it being nearly 9 months since the initial outbreak of violence last summer, little has changed politically for the Rohingya to be reinstated with the Burmese citizenship that they deserve. In such times continued awareness is key, the Rohingya struggles cannot be shunned once more into the darkness. We will continue to share the reports our sources from Arakan send us in hope that a third outbreak of violence and yet more killings do not occur and further oppression does not continue silently.