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While Int'l Focus on Repatriation, Rohingya Still Being Expelled from Burma

RB News
Jan 29, 2018

Buthidaung, Arakan State -- While the International Focus is on Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh to Burma (Myanmar), more Rohingya people are still being forced out from their homes by the Burmese authorities, report reliable sources.

The Burmese joint-task forces comprising Military and Security Forces (Hlun Htein) have been carrying out a silent operation at 'U Hla Phay', a Rohingya village in northern Buthidaung Township, since January 16, 2018, forcing many villagers to flee to Bangladesh.

"This is Winter Season here. Very cold! It's been very difficult for us to spend nights outside homes. During the raids, the Military and the 'Hlun Htein' plunder homes and harass women.

"They are indiscriminatingly targeting men including minors under alleged links with Rohingya rebels. They have already arrested some village men which we know they are innocent. They are being extremely tortured by the police in detention now", a village man told RB News while talking from a hideout.

Mohammed Hassan s/o Mohammed Akbar, a Rohingya man from 'Ath-twin Nget-thae' village in northern Buthidaung known to have worked as a government informant, was killed by unknown assailants on August 10, 2017. On August 16, 2017, the Military and the BGP (Border Guard Police) carried out a raid at the village indiscriminatingly arresting 49 people. Most of them were farmers encountered and arrested while cultivating paddy in their farmlands.

The BGP at the Camp No. 21 in Buthidaung tortured them in detention and released 25 of them on August 18 after extorting huge amount of money from them, while remaining 24 villagers (whom the villagers affirm to be innocent) have still been in detention under ‘Unlawful Associations Acts’ 17 (A and B). [The list of the arrestees is to be updated].

The situation has calmed down a little bit until January 18, 2018, when Mv Ali Hussein s/o Lal Meah, the father-in-law of the deceased, as convinced by the Burmese authorities, alleged some random villagers of U Hla Phay to be behind the killing. Since then, the military and the security forces began raids at the village of 'U Hla Phay.'

On January 20 afternoon, the dead body of Mv Ali Hussein was found abandoned nearby the mountain yet far away from the village of U Hla Phay. It has been learnt that, since then, the military and security forces began targeting the villagers of 'U Hla Phay' at large with no proofs or whatsoever against them. Continuous raids, arbitrary arrests, beating people, money extortions and plundering homes are daily increasing and hence, creating panic and fear among the people.

According to a report today (Jan 29), the authorities have been conducting the Headcounts (Census) against 'the Household Registration List' in the village since January 27 while conducting raids in the village at night. During the process, innocent village men are being arrested.

Among some villagers arrested since the raids began are:

U Maung Phyu
Ywet Nyo Taung
Member of Village’s Administrative Body, Arrested on Jan 21
Mohammed Ameen
UAbdu Jabbar
U Hla Phay
Arrested on Jan 23
Hf Rahmat Ullah
U Kadir Hussain
U Hla Phay
Arrested on Jan 29, detained in Hlun Htein Camp 21
Mv Yaseen Anis
Hf Mohammed Alam
U Hla Phay
Arrested on Jan 29, detained in Hlun Htein Camp 21
Mv Abdullah

Mv Naeem
U Hla Phay
Arrested on Jan 29, detained in Hlun Htein Camp 21

Thus far, at least 100 families have fled from the village for Bangladesh in fear.

"If this continues, I believe the village will be empty at least by two third soon. We request to the UN and the international community to pressure the Myanmar government to create a peaceful and breathable atmosphere for the Rohingya people remaining in the country before pursuing an untimely repatriation of our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh," the villager added.

Meanwhile, at the this point of time, the villagers are spending nights in the open fields, in the forest and nearby the rivers in fear of arrests and tortures during the raids by the Burmese armed forces.

*** Watch this space for more updates…

[Reported by RB Correspondents; Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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