It has now been two months since the initial communal violence erupted in Northern Arakan (Rakhine state). The Government has imposed a curfew to contain the violence but the order is used to further intimidate and harass the Muslim Rohingya community. The Rakhines are taking out full advantage of the curfew and the Rohingya have become victims of this order and are heavily punished under it. Contrastingly, the Rakhines live very normal lives under the curfew, yet we have sources that they are antagonising the situation so as to prolong the curfew order so that the Rohingya become further crippled and controlled.

Concern now grows as the Rohingya fear that surrounding Rakhine villages will attempt to falsely destroy Buddhist monuments claiming the Rohingya were responsible. Such fears stem from one such incident on August 7th where the residents of a Rakhine village called Ramyat Taung, east of Ngakura of Nasaka Sector 5 created a raucous scene, prompting the Nasaka to arrive. The Nasaka discovered a Buddhist pagoda near the village partly damaged and were told by the Rakhine that the Rohingya had done it and fled when they challenged them. Fortunately, the Nasaka did not act on the information and it later transpired that it was the Rakhine Buddhists that were to blame for the destruction. Many Rohingya villages, however are worried that the next time they are accused they won’t be so fortunate.

On August 8th, the town of Maungdaw was put under Army guard with all areas in the town and surrounding areas sealed off. It is thought that the increased security was in response to the 24th anniversary of the 1988 Uprising led by the 88 Generation Students, joined by other democracy supporters. Later, it was learned that the authorities had information that there would be bomb attacks in Maungdaw, targeting government installations and other important places.

Because of the suspected bomb attacks, Rohingya houses were checked one by one during the night by police and Lun Htin forces, putting members of the houses through untold sufferings, taking advantage of the absence of many male family members who do not sleep in their homes to avert arrests. There are also reports of extortion by the police and Lun Htin and Sarapa that have reached new heights.

It is now feared that the army, police and Lun Htin forces joined by Rakhines may explode bombs in Maungdaw town claiming it to be the work of Muslim terrorists having infiltrated the area from Bangladesh. Such claims are built on unfounded anti Rohingya propaganda of the Rohingya community being illegal immigrants and Muslim terrorists from bordering Bangladesh.

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