Maungdaw, Arakan State: Villagers of Kamaung Seik (Fokira Bazaar) Village Tract of Maungdaw North, Arakan State, Burma, have been fleeing to Bangladesh on a daily basis for fear of arrest, torture, and rape to women and girls since February of last week, said a local from the said village.
During the last week of February, two persons, including Nur Alam (Omer), entered the Tite Defa Village of said village tract of Maungdaw North from Bangladesh and stayed at the home of one villager named Jaffar. They tried to reach an understanding between the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD) groups after clashing in the period of the last national election. Most of the villagers supported the NDPD candidates, so the local authorities and the Nasaka collaborators were very angry with the supporters of NDPD candidates.
However, one Nasaka collaborators named Nurul Islam informed Abdu Gaffar, son of village Chairman Boshar. So, Abdu Gaffar immediately informed to the Nasaka Headquarters that a group of insurgents had entered Bangladesh and held a meeting with locals in the house of Jaffar.
As a result, the Nasaka Director Lt. Col. Aung Gyi contacted Commander Major San Win Khine of Nasaka Area No. 2 by telephone and asked him to send Nasaka personnel to arrest the intruders. Immediately, the commander, accompanied by an immigration officer, led a group of 19 Nasaka personnel to the spot. They also picked up Baser, the village elder from the market, and surrounded the house of Jaffar and searched inside the house, but did not find anything there. So, the Nasaka brought all the family members of Jaffar including women and children to the camp. Meanwhile, seeing the atrocity, Baser fled from the scene, said another local elder from the village.
“The Nasaka were very angry at his fleeing from the scene, so Saber’s family members were also brought to Nasaka Area No. 2 where five women, including girls, were gang raped in the camp. However, the following day, one of the representatives of UNHCR went to the camp and had them released by saying that the incident was not related to the women.”
Taking this opportunity, the Nasaka arbitrarily arrested people and tortured, extorted money, raped the women and girls, and forced them to admit that they had links to insurgents.
The Regional Development Association (RDA) Chariman Mohibullah of Maungdaw Town and some USDP carders, namely Jahingir, Abdu Salam, Jaffar Alam and others, taking this opportunity, jointly moved against the supporters of NDPD and implicated them with rebellion groups. Most of the villagers of Kamaung Seik Village Tract are supporters of NDPD. So, the USDP cadres want to clash completely when they get a chance with the co-operation of local authorities, said a trader from Maungdaw Town.
With the implication of being a rebellion group, the NDPD supporters such as Zaw Win alias Khalu, ex-village chairman of Khamaung Seik village, Kyaw Min alias Abu Kalam, current chairman of Kamaung Seik, Jaffar Alam , the village elder, Zainul Haque, ex-village Chairman of Rey Aung village tract, Dil Mohamed, village secretary, and Salim, ex-village chairman of Rey Aung village tract were arrested by the Nasaka. Maulana Forid Alam, the principal of Fokira Bazar Madrasa of Maungdaw Township, was also arrested on March 16 by Nasaka personnel. So far, 35 villagers have been arrested and detained, the trader continued.
Besides, on March 17, Ex-Village Chairman Md. Shoffi (50), of Waladaung Village of Maungdaw Township was arrested by putting a pipe gun into his Hay file in his compound. On April 14, at about 8:00 am, his wife, 40, and his two daughter-in-laws aged 25 and 22, were brought to the Nasaka Area No. 2 where they were gang raped by the Nasaka. However, after 12 midnight they were released. The following day, on April 15, they were asked to come back to the camp. So, in fear of rape and torture, they fled to Bangladesh with their six children, said a local elder from the village who declined to be named.
At present, all the arrestees have been brought to Nasaka Areas 3, 5, and 6 and tortured to get confessional statements that the authorities needed. Their beards were shaved, they forced to walk on the rivets, and they were ironed on the backside.
In reality, the Nasaka arrested and tortured the villagers from Kamaung Seik Village Tract over the allegation that the group had connections with an insurgent group in Nasaka Area No. 2 of Maungdaw Township, said another local trader from Maungdaw.
“There is no evidence to suggest that the Arakanese Rohingya community consented to the discussion with insurgents. It is just an excuse for the Nasaka to charge, harass, and extort money from the Arakanese Rohingya community.”
At present, every day Nasaka go to the village tract and arrest innocent villagers after implicating the insurgent group. Sometimes they put pipe guns into the house and arrest the house owners, and rape women while their husbands have been hiding in the forest to avoid arrest. So, everyday, villagers flee to Bangladesh for fear of rape, arrest and torture. Now, family numbers of five families are living at Kutupalong unofficial camp. More villagers have to flee in future when they have facilities. At present, over 200 villagers, including boys over 7 years old, have been hiding in the forest, said a villager who fled from the village.
This month, at first, 20 arrestees were produced in Maungdaw Court, and the second time seven arrestees were produced at the Maungdaw court filing case with 17(1), against them. However, they were not found to be guilty after investigation of five witnesses out of 25, said a businessman who has good relations with the arrestees.
Kamaung Seik Village Tract has seven villages and 1,700 houses. The accident happened in one village, but the Nasaka has arrested villagers from all the villages.
On April 22, the Nasaka seized all the properties of fleeing families, such as cattle, fowls, rice, paddy, shops, land, and other household things, and sold it at the market, said a youth from Waladaung Village.