Myanmar military detains 11 more for Rakhine attacks

20th Oct 2016
Myanmar military detains 11 more for Rakhine attacks

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

 

YANGON, (AA): A further 11 people have been arrested in military clearance operations in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State following raids on police outposts earlier this month in which nine officers died.

Two of those held subsequently died in detention Wednesday, although they are understood to have been in poor health on arrest.

The outposts raided Oct. 9. are located in Maungdaw and Yathay Taung townships, two areas predominantly occupied by the country’s stateless Rohingya Muslim population — described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world

On Wednesday, a statement from the military said troops captured a man involved in the attacks Tuesday and after interrogating him soldiers arrested a further ten men in Nga Ku Ya village in Maungdaw on Wednesday.

A local police officer later told Anadolu Agency that two of those arrested had died during detention.

“The two men were in poor health when troops caught them, so soldiers took them to a hospital while others were detained for interrogation,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of matter.

“They died on the way to hospital,” he added.

Since the Oct. 9 attacks, at least 43 people — nine police officers, four soldiers and 29 suspected attackers (among them the two women) — have been killed, or have died.

Rohingya advocacy groups have expressed concerns over what they claim is a continued military and police crackdown in the area, as authorities seek those responsible for the initial murder.

Late Sunday, a statement from global groups headlined Save Rohingya from Annihilation claimed that military and police have been indiscriminately killing Rohingya and torching and plundering their homes and villages, under the pretext of looking for the attackers.

On Friday, Myanmar’s government said that the Oct. 9 raids were conducted by the Aqa Mul Mujahidin organization, which it described as being affiliated with the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a shadowy extremist group that takes its name from the Rohingya.

Though most experts believe the RSO’s continued existence is a myth, the government has classified it as an extremist group and officials blame it for recent attacks on border areas.

According to the government, Aqa Mul Mujahidin’s leader — identified by as a 45-year-old man named Havistoohar from a small village in the Maungdaw area — had attended a six-month Taliban training course in Pakistan.

It added that the small organization is still attempting to carry out attacks in the Maungdaw area through its almost 400 armed attackers.

In 2012, violence between the local Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine — one of the poorest regions in Myanmar — left around 57 Muslims and 31 Buddhists dead, some 100,000 people displaced in camps and more than 2,500 houses burned — most of which belonged to Rohingya.

The state is home to around 1.2 million Rohingya who were described by United Nations as one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world, but have long been officially labeled as “Bengali” — a term suggesting they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh — and denied citizenship.

 

[Archive Photo: Rohingya Musilms pump water at a well in Thet Key Pyin camp near Sittwe cap of Rakhine state. Photgrapher:AA]

One Response to “Myanmar military detains 11 more for Rakhine attacks”

B MurrayOctober 24, 2016

Thank you for reporting on the condition of the Rohingya in Burma (Myanmar). I appreciate your article “Myanmar military detains 11 more for Rakhine attacks.”

In media reporting the Rohingya’s tragic suffering is sometimes misrepresented as communal violence, when in reality they are the victims of a persecution. Identifying the situation in Burma (Myanmar) accurately is very helpful.

Despite denial and contrary claims by the Burmese (Myanmar) government, seven Nobel laureates – Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Tawakkol Karman, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel- have described the persecution as a genocide, and along with the international community agree the Rohingyas are indigenous to Burma (Myanmar).

The Lowenstein Clinic, Yale University Law School, in their study to what is happening in Burma, amounts to “strong evidence” of genocide coordinated by the Burmese (Myanmar) government against the Rohingya people. It assessed evidence, including documents and testimonials provided by Al Jazeera and Fortify Rights.

Former Special Rapporteur Jose Quintana speaks of the movement towards genocide and the current rapporteur speaks of “worrying signs” of genocide.

While it seems clear that the idea of genocide is embarrassing to the international community, it cannot and should not be for writers, journalists and news outlets. They have an obligation to report the facts, and report free from the burden of geopolitics.

The Dalai Lama has publicly urged fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sun to speak out on behalf of the Rohingya community and help stem the violence in her country against Rohingya by Buddhist extremist groups.

The situation of the Rohingya has deteriorated significantly since large-scale attacks against Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2012. Aung Sung lost much of her credibility as an icon for democracy, by refusing to speak out on behalf of the Rohingya minority. Neither the USDP nor the NLD have done anything to reinstate the Rohingya’s right to vote, reverse discriminatory laws, and stop extremist violence.

There is no question that the human rights situation must be addressed. I greatly appreciate your article and am hopeful that the awareness it raises will contribute in stopping the ongoing genocide in Myanmar.

Regards,
Bubba Murray

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