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Suu Kyi government approves seven new Buddhist villages to be built in Maungdaw

RB News 
December 21, 2016

Maungdaw, Arakan – Since October 9th several Rohingya villages were burnt down following an attack on Border Guard Police in Maungdaw, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. At least 30,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh and it is believed now they will not have a chance to return to the villages they were displaced from, as plans for new non-Muslim housing is announced. 

A media team of journalists handpicked by the government has been in Maungdaw district since December 20th, 2016 and on December 21st they visited some effected areas including Wa Baik, Pyaung Paik, Kyein Chaung, and Nga Ku Ra, according to Radio Free Asia Burmese service. 

According to residents in Maungdaw the media team met Rohingya who are known to collaborate with the military’s USDP party on December 20th at night during curfew hours. The local authorities have arranged meetings for the handpicked journalists. Among the journalists in the media team are some from known anti-Rohingya and pro-Military outlets. The Rohingya in Maungdaw are not hopeful that the team will conduct any kind of impartial or serious investigation.

The media team met with local authorities including the Border Guard Police (BGP) chief, Police Brigadier General Thura San Lwin at the BGP headquarters. In the meting the Maungdaw District administrator Ye Htut said the Union Government had approved the construction of seven ethnic villages in Maungdaw Township, according to Radio Free Asia Burmese. 

Rohingya residents in Maungdaw fear that these villages will be built on the remains of destroyed Rohingya villages which were burnt to the ground by the military over the past few months. 

At the same time, while arson of Rohingya homes appear to have stopped, the BGP has been reported demolishing Rohingya homes which they claim are newly constructed as they were not included in a map previously drawn by the notoriously vicious but now defunct NaSaKa border security forces. As of now 250 homes have already been demolished within one week in Buthidaung Township, Maungdaw Township and Taung Pyo Let Wel Sub-township. Some of the houses that were destroyed are at least 30 years old. The NaSaKa was established in 1992 and disbanded in 2013 after numerous accusations of human rights violations. 

In 1992 several pieces of land and businesses owned by Rohingyas were confiscated and the military regime built NaTaLa villages where Bamar (ethnic Burmese) prisoners from central Myanmar were settled. 

Since October 9th, 2016 at least 450 Rohingya civilians are believed to have been killed, and 300 women and girls have reported being raped or gang raped by Myanmar security forces. More than 2000 Rohingya homes have been burnt to the ground. At the same time the Myanmar government is under increasing pressure to ensure the safety and human rights of civilians they are demolishing the homes of Rohingyas creating increasing homelessness among the population and driving them to Bangladesh as refugees.

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