Malaysian aid to be distributed in Myanmar’s Rakhine
By Kyaw Ye Lynn
February 25, 2017
Myanmar military ship transporting Malaysian aid for Rohingya Muslims arrives in troubled Rakhine State
YANGON, Myanmar -- Humanitarian aid from Malaysia will soon be distributed to displaced people in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, authorities said Thursday.
A Myanmar military ship loaded with Malaysian aid for Rohingya Muslims in the Maungdaw area of northern Rakhine arrived in state capital Sittwe on Wednesday, according to state-run newspapers.
The Maungdaw area has been under military lockdown since early October when a gang killed nine officers in raids on police stations near the country’s western border with Bangladesh.
At least 93,000 people have been displaced -- with 69,000 fleeing to Bangladesh -- amid the military operation, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Security forces have been accused of committing abuses such as mass gang-rape and killings, brutal beatings, the burning of villages and disappearances.
The reports Thursday said the aid would be distributed to 190 villages as well as camps for internally displaced people in Rakhine.
Tin Maung Swe, a regional government spokesman, told Anadolu Agency that the supplies would be provided to displaced people from both communities -- Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists -- by Saturday.
“We will distribute most of the aid to people in Sittwe and Maungdaw,” he said by phone Thursday.
Of the 24,000 people who remain internally displaced, 272 are ethnic Rakhine as well as Myo, according to the UNOCHA’s weekly report.
Earlier this month, a Malaysian ship had dropped hundreds of tons of food and other necessities at Thilawa Port in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon.
With its remaining supplies, it then headed for Bangladesh.
The crackdown has been the subject of severe international criticism over abuses committed against the Rohingya.
Following growing local and international pressure, Myanmar’s government announced last week the end of military operations in the area.