Thursday, 24 April 2014

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The six dead bodies that were discovered in the Naf River a few days ago are still floating in the river. The causes of death of the six corpses remain unknown, said an elder from Maungdaw.

“The local people are trying to remove the bodies from the river to bury them, but the concerned authorities will not allow it.”

The bodies that are floating near the riverbank of Shweza Village belong to four children and two women. The four children are all from the same family, while the two women are from another family from Shweza Village, said a village authority member of Shweza.

The villagers and village authorities continue to seek permission from Burma’s Border Security Force (Nasaka) camp no. 14 under sector no. 6, stationed in Shweza, to remove the bodies, but the officer in charge of the camp will not allow anyone to extract the bodies from the river, a village authority member said.

“A mother and her four children were going to visit their relatives in a refugee camp [across the border in Bangladesh] when the mother became mad, and the four children died.”

“The mother and 17 adult males were rescued by a border trade passenger boat, and all were sent to the Nasaka Headquarters for interrogations. A case for illegal border crossing was filed.”

“From the 18 persons, five males avoided arrest. The Nasaka released the lady for becoming mad at her children. ‘Where are my children?’ the lady kept asking.”

Dil Mohamed, a Nasaka agent, operates a ferry service every day between Maungdaw and Teknaf with the permission of Nasaka Camp no. 14 in Shweza. The Nasaka earns a profit from this service. The agent uses small rowing boats for his service, according to a teacher from Shweza.

On the evening of February 20, the agent collected 34 passengers, even though his rowing boat does not have the capacity for so many people. After sailing in the river for a short time, the boat sank and sixteen people drowned. However, locals have found only six people. The whereabouts of the other ten are unknown. The authorities are discouraging the local people from searching for the missing bodies.