Rohingya Villagers Claim Seized Home-made Guns Was Made Up Plot By Acting LIU Commander
January 5, 2017
Buthidaung, Arakan – Rohingya villagers claim that the story of home-made guns allegedly seized in Maung Gyi Taung village tract in Buthidaung Township was made up by the acting Light Infantry Unit Commander, since his practice of extortion was recently exposed and this was his plan to divert attention away from him.
Today on January 5th, 2017 in the morning, the soldiers from the Light Infantry Unit (564) and the Border Guard Police from Phong Daw Pyin came to Dar Paing Saya village tract. They ordered all villagers from Sin Aong, Dar Paing Saya and Gawni hamlets to report to the school located in Dar Paing Saya with their household registration lists.
They then interrogated the villagers who went to the school and detained eight families, including the elderly, women, and children. They also detained former village administrator Shuna Miah son of Abul Kasim and Shuna’s two sons from the village and held them in the school. In addition, they detained any villager who had the name Shuna Miah (apparently, there were at least 4 or 5 people with this same name). The villagers said that whilst they were interrogated at the school they were all beaten by the soldiers and the police, including the young and the old. In the evening at 7pm, they released all who had been held at the school, apart from the former village administrator Shuna Miah who was arrested and taken with them. Villagers say that Shuna had close ties with officials and was living peacefully in the village so they do not know why he was arrested.
The day before on January 4, 2017 at least 7 villagers were arrested from this same area, but Aung San Suu Kyi’s office information committee claimed only four villagers had been arrested, and that they had seized 14 home-made guns. There is still no news regarding the other three people who were arrested on January 4th, and the villagers say that in addition, three families were also taken away by the security forces on 4th and their whereabouts is also still unknown.
The families taken away have been identified as:
(1) Mamed Siddique (age 35) s/o Abul Kasim, his wife and two daughters;
(2) The wife of Abdul Rahim s/o Jamal, two sons and two daughters;
(3) Laila d/o Mamed Sharif, two sons and three daughters.
A Major from the Light Infantry Unit (564), who is currently the acting commander, has been extorting money from the villagers over the past few weeks. Since October 9th 2016, he instructed two Rohingya villagers to extort 100,000 Kyat from any villager who wanted to travel outside of the village tract. The villagers who were given the responsibility to extort the money are Jamal s/o Mamed Hashim, and Zawmir Hussein who is the ‘in-charge’ of a hundred households. Both men are from Maung Gyi Taung village tract. As instructed, they collected 2.2 million Kyat of which they gave 1.6 million Kyat to Sergeant Ba Kyaw to pass on to the acting commander, but apparently there was a problem regarding the dividing of the money between them, according to the villagers.
On December 27th, 2016, the acting commander extorted 600,000 Kyat from two Rohingya villagers in Mi Chaung Zay Ywa Thit village and Ywa Thit village. In addition, on January 1, 2017, he extorted 2.4 million Kyat from 7 villagers in Mi Chaung Zay Ywa Thit village and Ywa Thit village. Those two days of extortion were exposed on RB News in a report written in the Burmese language on January 2, 2017. After posting the news about his extortion activities, the acting commander came under pressure from his superiors, according to a villager who was in close contact with him. Since he was under pressure and needed to divert attention away from himself, he is said to have organized
this fabricated plot, with his aides Jamal and Zawmir Hussein, that included the seizing of 14 home-made guns.
A resident in Buthidaung downtown said some of those that were arrested on January 4th are now hospitalized at Buthidaung hospital due to torture, and six lathe machine operators from downtown have also been arrested. However, RB News has not been able to independently verify that information.