Friday, October 14, 2016

Death Toll Rises in Arakan state of Myanmar

The police, Burma border guard police (BGP) and army have turned northern Arakan – Maungdaw and Rathedaung – in to a hell for Rohingya with crackdowns on innocent Rohingya civilians following attacks by unidentified assailants on three separate police outposts –  the BGP headquarters, Kyein Chaung and Koe Tan Kauk- in northern Arakan on Sunday 9 October, according to Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) press statement on October 11.
Myanmar‘s security forces have now killed at least 26 people in response to attacks on police that have sparked a dramatic escalation in violence in a Muslim-majority region along its border with Bangladesh. According to government reports in state media, armed men believed to be from the long-oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority are suspected to launch a coordinated assault, killing nine police, injuring five and making off with 48 weapons of various types and 6624 rounds of assorted ammunition, 47 bayonets, and 164 magazines.
It is very likely that some trouble makers within the Rakhine Buddhist community may actually have been the perpetrators so as to start this new wave of ethnic cleansing drive by government forces against the Rohingya. They are opposed to the Annan commission which wants to bring peace to the troubled area.
Military personnel and police reinforcements have poured into the Muslim-majority township of Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state and have clashed with groups of up to 300 men, armed with pistols, swords and knives, according to official reports.
Human rights groups and advocates for the stateless Rohingya have voiced concern that the civilian population may be caught up in the authorities’ violent response.
Myanmar‘s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said that her government was “exercising the rule of law” in dealing with the attacks, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said on Thursday.

The military’s official newspaper, Myawady, said that another 10 alleged attackers were killed, and a rifle was seized, in a clash on Tuesday morning at Kyetyoepyin village, Maungdaw Township.
In a separate incident on Wednesday, the military accused armed attackers of setting fire to 25 houses after an aborted attack on border police quarters in Kyikanpyin village, the site of one of Sunday’s attacks.
The killings bring the total death toll in northern Rakhine state since Sunday to 39, including 13 security personnel.
The 26 alleged attackers reported killed include several who a local resident told Reuters were shot while unarmed and fleeing soldiers.
Campaign group, Fortify Rights, said on Wednesday it had received reports of extrajudicial killings in the area and called on Myanmar‘s government to “protect civilians regardless of religion or ethnicity.”
Authorities have also detained four men, identified as local Muslims, who they allege were involved in the attacks.
The Rohingya bore the brunt of genocidal pogroms in Arakan (Rakhine) in 2012, in which perhaps1000 people were killed. They make up most of the 125,000 people still living in displacement camps in Rakhine state and face severe restrictions on their movements.

The president's office in Myanmar has issued a report on the incident. In this, it claims that "the attacks in Maungdaw were intended to promote extremist violent ideology among the majority Muslim population in the area. Using Maungdaw as a foothold, this was an attempt to take over the areas of Maungdaw and Buthitaung. For this, they received significant financial support from extremist individuals in some Middle Eastern countries."

However, the report has to be taken with a grain of salt, as noted by activist Dr. Maung Zarni. He says, "Revving up the 'terrorism' allegations is killing three birds with a single stone:

1) it enables the military to scale up the slow genocide of the Rohingya in Northern Rakhine.

2) it diverts racist Burmese public's attention away from the military attacks on the Kachin and halted the anti-war protest momentum

3) it forces Aung San Suu Kyi to relinquish her Kofi Annan Commission initiative as the military is in due course going to take over the Rakhine administration, partial or wholly, from the NLD puppets.

In that light, the Statement issued by Htin Kyaw Office is not really credible or verifiable - beyond what it says.

First, all governments lie, and Myanmar Government lies typically and most frequently.

Second, routinely Myanmar Military Intelligence fabricates stories and evidence. Ask ex-Major Aung Lin Htut in Marilyn, who was chief of counterintelligence at Myanmar Embassy in Washington. He KNOWS.

Dating back to 1950's in the midst of growing armed Communist movement, Myanmar Military Intelligence has a long history of fabricating "facts", manufacturing and planting "evidence", and extracting false confessions through torture.

In the 1950's the Army's Psychological Warfare Publication called Myawaddy routinely published anti-Communist propaganda. It would publish pictures of beheaded Buddha images and damaged temples saying the Communists were responsible for these anti-Buddhist activities - whereas in fact the military would destroy them for photo-ops.

It is like USA's Pentagon spending $480 million, to create anti-Muslim propaganda video-clips of terrorist groups that operate in the name of Islam such as Al Quaeda."

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed grave concern at the eruption of violence in Rakhine state following attacks by unidentified insurgents against Myanmar border facilities on 9 October which resulted in the deaths of several security personnel and insurgents. The OIC calls for a full investigation into the incident to determine the perpetrators in order to bring them to justice. (Click on the attached video link.)

The OIC has received disturbing reports of extra judicial killings of Rohingya Muslims, burning of houses, and arbitrary arrests by security forces in Maungdaw Township and other villages in Northern Rakhine State. The situation has caused many Rohingya to flee their villages and the subsequent blockade in the region has also left many in the area facing acute shortages of food, water and essentials.
The OIC Secretary General, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani appealed for calm and called on all stakeholders to apply maximum restraint, refrain from the use of violence and to avoid an escalation of the situation. He urged the Government of Myanmar to provide full protection to Rohingya people in Northern Rakhine state. Mr Madani further expressed concern that the volatile situation and continued violence will only prolong the plight of Rohingya people and further polarise the Muslim and Buddhist Rakhine communities in the state. The Secretary General noted that it is only through dialogue and reconciliation with all members of society, including the Rohingya, that Myanmar could achieve true democracy, development and socio-economic progress.

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