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Ba Kyaw: The Leading Military Gunman of Maung Nu Massacre

A survivor from Monu Fara (Photo: Ro Mayyu Ali)

Ro Mayyu Ali
RB Article
February 2, 2018

Curtly, shabby, and always redly in eyes but very tactful to pick up the collections for extortion purposes. Grabbing any Rohingya's motor-bike, a soul-ruffling terrifying entry into the village blends the oxygen, dust and fueled smoke for Rohingya villagers in Chin Tha Ma, Northern Buthidaung. 

Ba Kyaw, born to a Thet ethnic parents in Nga Chint Taut, a mixed ethnic village in Northern Buthidaung. He was brought up in rural area and quickly learned the Rohingya dialect. He can speak Rohingya fluently, however he can't read and write the official Burmese well, say the villagers. He didn't even complete primary classes in school.

The extremism shines on his face to eliminate the neighboring Muslim Rohingya. That matters much to him as it could bestow the rational incentives and praiseworthy recognition for a rascal Buddhist man in Myanmar's radical evolving times against Islam, particularly in Northern Rakhine State. 

In the early 2000's, he was recruited with the armed forces for Military Battalion (564), one of the Buthidaung's largest units based in Pa Lai Taung, Chin Tha Ma village, Northern Buthidaung. His proficiency of Rohingya dialect is the main tool to help for their extortion and illegal accusation to innocent Rohingya villagers. The more he extorts from the Rohingya, the closer he becomes with Major Than Zaw Oo, the in-charge of the battalion (564). Not long after, he was promoted as a Quartermaster Sergeant. He, thus increases the frequency of persecution and extortion in Rohingya villages. 

After the violence on 9 October, 2016, he drafted a list inputting dozens of senior and educated Rohingya villagers accusing them as ARSA. Since then, he and Than Zaw Oo have been arresting villagers and release those who could manage to pay their demand of large sums of money.

At predawn, 25 August, 2017, there was attack against some check posts in Northern Rakhine State killing 9 security forces that ARSA admitted responsibility for. In the early morning on 27 August, 2017, dozens of military forces from (564) Battalion besieged Monu Fara (Maung Nu), a hamlet in Chin Tha Ma village. Villagers were scattered, running to and fro. Then the forces started shooting heavily at them. Villagers ran out to the top part of the village and hid inside of some big houses there. 

"In Rohingya dialect, Ba Kyaw threatened to them that they would shoot us if we didn't open the door. So, a woman opened it in fear" said the 59-years-old Halima. "Some forces took away my three sons grabbing from my hands. And some others including Ba Kyaw collected money and gold grasping from women's bodies" she added. Ba Kyaw often came to our neighbor says Halima when I asked how she knows him. 

"My hands are tied up. I was taken to the gunpoint where many people were fastened and gathered on top. Soon, the mobile set in Ba Kyaw's pocket is ringing up" recalled the 19-years-old Mohammadul Hassan, a survivor who had been hit in the body with three bullets. "He had a talk on phone for a while" he paused wiping out the tears by hands. "No sooner he uttered "Kay, Salaimay (Okay, start now!) hanging down the call than all forces started shooting people on a close range and slaughtering with swords" he, the grade-9 student added.

"In my eyes (I saw), Ba Kyaw stab Zahid Hussein with knife and the belly was out and (he was) killed" said Nasair, another survivor. 

"I dialed the number of my husband missing since the day, someone holds up the call" said the 28-years-old Ajeda. "It is Ba Kyaw on phone, not my husband." Ajeda is one of hundreds of those Rohingya women who lost husband in hands of Myanmar's military and fled to Bangladesh with kids. She often tries to dial the number from the world's largest refugee camp whenever she misses her husband. "Once, Ba Kyaw asked me to recharge his mobile so he would let me know about my husband. And I managed to recharge 1000 kyats. But he cheated me." she added. "Then, I decided my husband was killed" she mourned out suddenly. 

More than 340 Rohingya men and boys including Mohammed Salim, a Rohingya private teacher of Ba Kyaw's daughter from Chin Tha Ma are believed have been killed and slaughtered by military during that day. Some mass graves were discovered nearby the gunpoint where people were slaughtered on the top part of Maung Nu hamlet. Around 15 more villagers are missing still. 

Currently, the in-charge of the battalion is Major Than Zaw Oo. Kyaw Htay Aung is another pair military gunman with Ba Kyaw in Maung Nu massacre. Aung Zaw Myo, Thar Hla and Aung Myint are the other three military forces among dozens from (564) Battalion who actively participated killing Rohingya villagers in Maung Nu.

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