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TIMELINE: Burmese Military’s PROVOCATIONS prior to clashes with Rohingya Insurgents

Myanmar border police patrol Buthidaung, an area in northern Rakhine state, near the border with Bangladesh [Reuters File]

By Haikal Mansor

The clashes between Rohingya insurgents at a number of Burmese police posts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships on August 25, 2017, are followed by month-long provocations from Burmese Military and Rakhine Extremists.

These offensive and provocative acts are believed to be strategic moves towards militarisation by the military intelligence, with an aim to create further fears and chaos among the communities living in the northern Rakhine State.

These provocations–expanded upon below– are a calculated attempt to undermine the recommendations made by Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission, which officially submitted the final report to Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy NLD government on Friday, August 25.

The recommendations of the commission: providing Rohingya with citizenship, healthcare, education, freedom of movement, access to justice, media, humanitarian aid, and avoidance of excessive forces, are incompatible to the long-term policies of Tatmadaw (Burma’s Armed Forces) in the region which is seen as one of the frontiers of its survival or strength against the influential NLD government in Rakhine. When the creation of commission was announced, Tatmadaw, Tatmadaw-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), now-rebranded Ma Ba Tha Islamophobic monk organization and Rakhine nationalists jointly rejected the commission which was seen as “foreigners’ intervention”.

Rakhine nationalists protest against “Kofi-led commission” he arrived in Sittwe [EPA]

It is no coincidence that the attacks took place on the same day the government welcomed the commission’s recommendations, which the military finds “factual flaws and deficiencies”.

Wednesday, August 9 – TATMADAW AND RAKHINE LAWMAKERS MEETING

Arakan National Party Chairman Aye Maung, standing, and other ANP officials meet Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and other Tatmadaw leaders in Naypyidaw on Wednesday. (Photo: Office of the Commander-in-Chief)

Commander-in-chief of Tatmadaw Senior-general Min Aung Hlaing finds the Rakhine nationalist Arakan National Party (ANP) as the best suitable partner to affiliate with in order to influence their respective presence in the region. Min Aung Hlaing received ANP leader Aye Maung and party lawmakers in Naypyidaw on August 9, where ANP suggested arming and training Rakhine and Buddhist settlers, and to form a ‘people’s militia’ against Rohingya Muslim civilians.

Both Tatmadaw and ANP share the same ideology – finding a scapegoat in Rohingya community for their failures and fulfilment of their ultimate goal in getting rid of Rohingya from Rakhine State.

Thursday, August 10 – BUILD-UP OF ARMED FORCES

Tatmadaw troops arrive in Sittwe on August 10 [Myanmar Press Photo Agency]

A day after the high-level meeting between Tatmadaw and Rakhine lawmakers, Min Aung Hlaing deployed a fully equipped battalion to Maungdaw township at the request of the lawmakers for the security and training of Rakhine and Buddhist settlers­– who are resettled on land that was confiscated from Rohingyas in strategic locations in Rohingya-majority townships such as Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

U Pe Than, an ANP lawmaker from Myebon Township in the Lower House said the following on August 10. “We’ve officially asked for further deployment of Tatmadaw forces for the security of Rakhine State. We pointed out that existing security forces are too small to protect ethnic villages.” The army chief said the Tatmadaw has large forces and that he would increase the troops if necessary. The plan was executed today.

The military has been expanding the security posts in the region. “We have been building 30 more security posts [in Maungdaw], so there will be 126 posts. We started building them yesterday [October 20, 2016]. We will deploy more security police as well,” said Chan Thar, Rakhine State’s Social Welfare Minister.

Sunday, August 13 – RAKHINE EXTREMISTS PROTEST

Rakhine and monks rally against INGOs, creation of People’s militia and armament of Buddhist villagers [Rakhine Media]

Rakhine hardliners and fanatic monks staged mass protests in 15 out of 17 townships in Rakhine State, calling the central government and the military to “implement 1982 Citizenship Law precisely”; “wipe out” Rohingya; “form [people’s] militia for security of ethnic people”; “expel all International NGOs including UNHCR and WFP [from] Rakhine State as soon as possible”.

In a statement released on August 9, Sittwe Administration Committee ordered Rohingya IDP [internally displaced persons] camps management across the State, to ban U.N. and International NGOs from conducting Data Assessment and Survey Activities. The organizations are falsely accused of being bias towards Rakhine, and of supporting Rohingya insurgents.

On November 7, 2016, more than 100 recruits between the age of 18 and 35, were provided a 16-week training in Sittwe

“They [people’s militia] will be given weapons and other equipment, like police,” claimed Lin Lin Oo, an assistant to the commander of Border Guard Police in Maungdaw.

Tuesday, August 15 – FARMERS TORTURED IN CHUT PYIN, RATHEDAUNG

Rohingya farmers in Chut Pyin tortured by the armed forces [Ground Photo]

While Rohingya farmers in Chut Pyin (Fringdaung) were removing grasses and sedges from their paddy fields, a group of armed forces and Buddhist settlers stormed the village and tortured the farmers.

Eight Rohingya identified as the victims of the raid were Adulatif (50, s/o Nur Ahmed), Abdullah (43, s/o Abul Hakim), Habiroon (39, s/o Baru), Rohim Ullah (39, s/o Abdul Salam), Younus (20, s/o Rohim Ullah), Ramzan (25, s/o Hafez Ahmed), Younus (21, s/o Siddique) and Mohammed Alam (13, Abdul Hamid).

On the following day, two teenage brothers Sayedul Rahman (20) and Abdul Rahman (15), sons of Roshan Ali were also inhumanely beaten by the armed forces.

Another two Rohingya – MD Kasim (55, s/o Abdu Boshir) and Kadir Huson (50, s/o Sultan Ahmed), were beaten with military boots and rifle butts in Thin Ga Net village leaving one of them in critical condition.

The villagers also claimed that a herd of their cattle were forcefully taken away by the settlers who were supported by the armed forces in the looting.

Saturday, August 19 – FISHERMAN DECAPITATED IN THA PYAY TAW, RATHEDAUNG

A Rohingya fisherman was decapitated in a river near Tha Pyay Taw (also known as Saw Prang), Hpet Leik village tract, Rathedaung Township on August 19.

The victim was identified as Sharif Hossain, son of Siddque Ahmed who went fishing to the river at around 4:30pm (GMT +6:30). He was reportedly attacked by some Rakhine extremist settlers, brutally decapitated before throwing the body into the river.

After receiving a distress call from another Rohingya fisherman who saw what believed to be a part of Mr. Sharif body in the river, the villagers went to the site where the murder took place. They found the presence of blood, but no body.

Friday August 18 – ROHINGYA FAMILY TORTURED IN THAN GAN NET, RATHEDAUNG

A Rohingya in Than Gan Net village of Thein Taung tortured [Ground photo]

On Friday, 18 August, Mohammed Tayoub (33, son of Nur Mohammed) and his two young daughters were harassed and tortured by the armed forces and Rakhine extremists while fishing in a river. The family belonged to, Rathedaung, where the attack took place.

Mohammed Tayoub was a firewood seller in profession, however he is unable to go to forests to collect firewood due to the increase violence and the restriction of movement against Rohingya. As a result, he, along with his daughters went to a nearby river to catch some fish in order to support his family.

When they were caught fishing, the forces took them to nearby Than Zin Myaing Rakhine village where they were harassed and tortured by Rakhine extremists and military personnel. The family is then released leaving behind severe marks sustained from the torture, and unable to afford or get medical treatment.

Friday, August 4 – RAID IN AUK NAN YAR, RATHEDAUNG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqPHooQZzJA

The armed forces and Rakhine extremists suddenly raided Auk Nan Yar (Razar Bil), Rathedaung leaving behind five Rohingya injured and several arrested.

The villagers were fired gunshots when they attempted to stop arresting a community leader and harassing Rohingya women.

The Rohingya who injured were identified as Abdu Subhan (17, s/o Abul Kassim), Sayed Ullah (14, s/o Karimullah), Bashir Ahmed (20, s/o Mohammed Hassan), Younus (24, s/o Noor Alam) and Mv. Abdu Shukur (40, s/o Motiur Rahman).

Meanwhile, five more men were arrested and detained by the police including a father and a son. They were Rahmatullah (30, s/o Amir Hamza), Amir Hussain (41, s/o Rahmatullah), Naser Ullah (20, s/o Noor Mohammed), Hir Hussain and Khari Rahmat.

Saturday, July 15 – ROHINGYA BANNED SHOPPING, RATHEDAUNG

Rohingya from Koe Tan Kauk, Rathedaung were warned to stop shopping in southern Maungdaw by the office of Border Guard Police (BGP) Outpost No. 8 Kyaung Taung, after a group of Rohingya villagers were trying to buy household goods and essentials such rice, oil, dried fish and fertilizer.

One Rohingya villager said, “For daily shopping, we used to go to Chein Khar Li (Rakhine) village and Rakhine came to our village. However, we are not allowed to go to their village or any other markets since the 2012-violence against Rohingya.

So many of internally displaced Rohingya in Rathedaung were dependent on ration of WFP (World Food Programme) for survival. Having the ration cut off by WFP, Rohingya from IDP camps and ghettos are forced to seek long and dangerous journey to buy household products from southern Maungdaw across many security posts, Rakhine villages and rivers.”

The villagers were ordered not to travel for shopping in the future, and threatened with heavy fine and imprisonment if they travelled again.

Another Rohingya villager from Koe Tan Kauk which is one of the villages faced severe human rights abuses during “Clearance Operations” including mass killings, rape, torture, arrest and destruction of houses and properties, said “Last year, we were killed with guns, our women were raped by the army and our houses were burnt down. Now the army wants to kill us all with mass starvation.”

Friday July 28 – SEIGE OF ZAY DI PYIN VILLAGE AND MANY ROHINGYA VILLAGES, RATHEDAUNG

Zay Di Pyin, a small Rohingya village in Rathedaung Township, 65km from Sittwe, has been under blockade by Rakhine extremists preventing working, fishing, fetching water since July 28, 2017.

The situation of Rohingya villagers remained uncertain and critical as they have been barred and imposed restricted movement between villages for food, water, healthcare and other basic necessities for livings.

Besides the restriction of movement, the villagers are the frequent target of Rakhine extremists armed with weapons such as machetes, swords and sticks accompanying the police forces, who frequently harass the persecuted Rohingya villagers on daily basis.

The groups are also stealing Rohingya livestock and personal belongings such as boats as well as destruction of houses and properties with the help of police, while Rohingya face with extremely limited supply of food.

A 20-strong Police force came to arrest injured Rohingya men on August 5, when unable to find them, they took Village Administrator Ameen and 65-year old Ahmed (s/o Kulla Mia) to the police outpost.

On August 6, a secret meeting was held in Zay Di Pyin between Border Guard Police captain Thura San Lwin and Rakhine villagers. The villagers remain in fear of further violence and abuses.

Wednesday-Thursday, August 23-24, MASS-ARREST, RATHEDAUNG

Rohingya in Rathedaung in danger of mass-starvation

#Rohingya in #Rathedaung township are in danger of mass-starvation as #Myanmar Armed Forces and Rakhine Extremists imposed blockage since August 4, 2017, with additional mass-arrest, violence and restriction on travel, food, healthcare and humanitarian aid.

Posted by The European Rohingya Council (ERC) on Thursday, 24 August 2017

A leaked video of Rohingya women and children crying showed the alarming situation of Rohingya who are provoked in Rohingya villages of Rathedaung.

Between August 23 and 24, almost all the Rohingya men were taken away from Auk Nan Yar village by the armed forces. This village has been subjected to recent human rights abuses such as indiscriminate shooting, arbitrary arrest, torture and harassment.

The village was also under siege leaving the vulnerable women, children and elderly in mass-starvation. The villagers requested the international community to help resolve their sufferings through the leaked video, however, there was no response for either Aung San Suu Kyi’s government or international governmental or non-governmental organizations.

Friday August 25 – POLICE POSTS ATTACKED IN MAUNGDAW, BUTHIDAUNG & RATHEDAUNG

In the early morning of Friday, Rohingya insurgents who vowed to protect both Rohingya and Rakhine civilians from the atrocities of Burmese armed forces, clashed at about 20 police posts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, where the crimes against humanity taking place for many decades, worsen during ‘clearance operations’.

According to the office of State-counsellor, the clashes left 12 armed forces and 16 Rohingya insurgents dead.

Soon after the clashes, the Tatmadaw used excessively disproportional force to punished the entire Rohingya community, announcing curfew and locking-down the region as the campaign of atrocities is undertaken, as witnessed during the ‘clearance operations’ following October 2016 clashes.

As the campaign enters the second day evidence of human rights violations is coming out of the region, reportedly machine-gunned civilians and fired rocket-launchers from helicopters on at least 25 Rohingya villages.

The villagers are on the move to cross the Burma-Bangladesh border where Bangladesh ramps up security on August 17, 2017. At least 400 Rohingya civilians were pushed back by the Bangladesh navy and thousands are reportedly stranded at the border in Maungdaw.

Many Rohingya are also temporary taking shelters in forests as their villages were set on fire by the armed forces.

Reports from the ground suggest that the civilian casualties now exceed 200.  With hundreds of civilians injured and without medical treatment or aid.

These clashes on August 25 were the result of calculated provocations to intensify the campaign of extermination against Rohingya in order to accomplish anti-Rohingya agendas of both the armed forces and Rakhine nationalists who are reportedly taking part in the ongoing campaign along with Ming Aung Hlaing’s army.