Burma Rohingya Organisation UK is producing this briefing paper to try to present information that will help clarify some of what happened in what has become known as the Du Chee Yar Tan Massacre.
Although the government of Burma and local security forces deny that any incident took place other than the killing of a policeman, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK has received multiple reports that leave us in no doubt that a serious incident has taken place.
The remoteness of the area, lack of ways for local people to communicate, threats to local people not to reveal information, and the government ban on people visiting the area, mean that establishing facts is very difficult. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK has received direct and indirect information. Naturally there is some discrepancy on some details, which is to be expected when people have witnessed traumatic events, seen things from different perspectives, and when information has passed through channels from one person to another. An example is the different estimates of the number of bodies in government trucks which left the village, as people were trying to estimate how many bodies were piled into each truck. However, there are very consistent general reports of the events which have taken place, even if some details differ.
The information we have received is consistent with reports from AP, Irrawaddy, Arakan Project, the United Nations, Fortify Rights and MSF.
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK has done all we can to try to ensure the information in this briefing is as accurate as possible. Given the difficulties in gathering information, there may be some errors, as it is not possible to directly verify and confirm all information. What is not in doubt is that a very serious incident has taken place. We are confident that this account provides a generally accurate picture of what has taken place.
If the government of Burma disputes the information in this briefing, we suggest that they agree to an impartial and independent international investigation into what took place. We pledge to accept the outcome of such an investigation. If the government of Burma has nothing to hide, they should be willing to do the same. We do not accept that any investigation by the government of Burma or the human rights commission will be impartial and accurate.
Du Chee Yar Tan is a remote area in Maungdaw, Rakhine State. It consists of 7 hamlets ( 4 Rohingyas and 3 Rakhine) , approximately 15 minutes’ walk from each other. The Rakhine call use the name Du Chee Yar Tan. The Rohingya call it Kiladuang. Traditionally there has been business and other interaction between the two.
- On the evening of 9th January, eight Rohingya men, who were not local to the area and may have come from Kyauktaw, were passing through the Rakhine village in Du Chee Yar Tan. While they were passing through they were stopped by the villagers, and taken to the home of the village administrator U Aung Zan Phyu.It was informed by a manual labourer who went to work Rakhine village.
- On 13th January afternoon some villagers in Du Chee Yar Tan saw the dead bodies of the eight Rohingya men in grounds of the home of the village administrator. One dead body was taken by some Rohingya villagers in the evening and seen by Rakhine villagers of Kayay Myine village. News quickly spread through the Rakhine and the Rohingya village. In the Rohingya village there was anger about the killings, and information began to be passed around Burma.
- On 14th January 2014, in the early morning at around 12 am, a group of 7 or 8 police and security forces, entered the Rohingya village. It is believed they were there to warn people not to talk about the killings of the eight Rohingya men.
As they approached one house in the village the man in the house fled,as Rohingya men often face arrest or beatings. They entered a house and demanded valuables, money and jewellery, from the Rohingya woman living there. Just extortion from police and security forces is very common. When the woman refused to give them her jewellery, the police and security forces raped and then killed her. This took place in front of her children. When their mother was killed the children began shouting and screaming that their mother had been killed. Local villagers heard and came to the house protesting. The police opened fire on the villagers. Three Rohingya women, three children and one man were killed and 4 people wounded by gunshots. It is likely that the policeman who authorities say was killed at this time.
- The police and security forces left the village, and approximately half an hour later more police and security forces returned to the village, as well as around 20-30 Rakhine civilians.
- Police and security forces began to make mass arrests. Some Rohingya trying to resist arrest or protesting about the arrests were shot by the police and security forces. The Rakhine civilians were also attacking Rohingya, hacking and clubbing Rohingya to death. The police and security forces took no action to stop this. They were acting side by side. Rapes of Rohingya women also took place at this time.
- Shortly after the police and security forces arrived, the military arrived in two trucks. They kept apart from the police, security forces and Rakhine mob, but some soldiers did shoot some Rohingya. They made no effort to prevent attacks against the Rohingya.
- It is during this period, approximately between 1am and 4am on 14th January, that most of the killings and rapes took place.
- Around 100 Rohingya are thought to have been arrested at this time, with more arrests following later. Exact estimates are difficult as most people in the village fled and are in hiding.
- By mid-day on 14th January, the vast majority of the approximately 3,500 Rohingya living in the village had fled to nearby villages. Some remained in hiding, and some of these fled into hiding later.
- Police and security forces in the village have committed widespread looting of property in empty homes, and livestock, since the 14th.
- On 19th January witnesses say many dead bodies were taken by three military trucks from the Rohingya village. They say there were many children among the bodies. Estimates range from seventy to ninety bodies.
- On 22nd January a delegation of Rakhine State Government officials visited to Du Chee Yar Tan village. Before the visit local villagers were threatened by police and security forces that if they said they had seen killings or dead bodies they would be jailed.
- Presidential spokesperson Ye Htut insisted that the delegation did not find any evidence of a massacre in the village and insisted that representatives were able to talk to local people, including Muslim leaders.
- On 23rd January about 200 women and children returned to the Du Chee Yar Tan village and some found blood at their houses and a smell which they think was from rotting bodies which had been recently moved.
- On 28th January, two weeks since the incident and after bodies and other evidence had been removed, the government of Burma held a press conference denying any incident had taken place, and agreed for diplomats to visit the village. The same evening eye-witnesses saw police setting fire to some homes. Police and security forces prevented Rohingya from trying to put out the fires.
So far we have collected the following list of Rohingyas who were killed on 14th January morning in Du Chee Yar Tan ;
- Ms Mariam Khatoo ( daughter of Zawmira Uddin )Age 103
- Ms Zahida Begum ( daughter of Ahmed Hussein) Age 45
- Mr Mamed Sohail (son of Sawli Mullah) Age 10
- Ms Humira (daughter of Abdul Razak) Age 35 *raped and killed
- Ms Musana (daughter of Sayed Ahmed) Age 40
- Ms Nur Begum (daughter of Hourmus) Age 50
- Ms Begum (daughter of Mohammed )Age 45
- Ms Eisi Begum (daughter of Sayed Ahmed ) Age 15 chopped into 3 pieces
- Mr Abu Bakkar Siddique Son of Omar Hamid (20-years-old)
- Mr Abdul Salam (son of Abdul Shakur) Age 60
- Ms Satayra (daughter of Omar Miah) Age 34 *raped and killed
- Ms Shamshida (daughter of Bawshir Ahmed) Age 49
- Mr Salim Bahar ( son of Abdul Amin) Age 42
- Ms Tuhida Khatu (daughter of Nazir Ahmed) Age60
- Ms Nurjahan ( daughter of Abdu Zabor) Age 21 *raped and killed
- Ms Fatemazua ( wife of Rahimullah) Age 32 *raped and killed
- Ms Nursabah (daughter of Rahimullah) Age 2years 5 months
- Ms Razuma ( daughter of Rashid Ahmed) Age 40
For more information please contact Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK on +44(0)7888714866.