30 Oct Rakhine State chase down fleeing Rohingya

Written by Kay Zue Published in Rohingya Issues Read 3724 times
A photo made available on 09 June 2014 shows Muslim people travelling by boat in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 08 June 2014.EPA/NYUNT WIN A photo made available on 09 June 2014 shows Muslim people travelling by boat in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 08 June 2014.EPA/NYUNT WIN

U Win Myaing, secretary of the Rakhine State government’s information team told Mizzima that local security officials have been arresting groups and families of “Bengalis” who have been trying to flee to other regions of Myanmar from northern Rakhine State.

More servicemen have been deployed for security along rivers and the coast in Rakhine State as an increased number of internally displaced people fled from camps in the state from August to October 2014, he said.

Around 130,000 people who self-identify as Rohingya were confined to camps following communal clashes in 2012. The government refers to them as “Bengalis”, to support the claim they are not Myanmar citizens and are illegal immigrants. The Myanmar government’s Rakhine State Action Plan involves relocating the refugees into new, more remote camps, segregating them from the rest of the state’s population.

U Win Myaing said the “illegal travel” of these people is “harmful to stability of the region”.

In addition, they may face danger along the waterways on their trips, he said.

During the three-month period, about 500 people were arrested due to their flight from the camps, said an official from No. 1 checkpoint in Maungtaw Township.

Muslim elder U Hla Thein of Maungtaw Township explained that some refugees have travelled to their relatives, some to other regions of the country in search of work, and some families had moved to Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In August, security personnel detained over 100 people fleeing from a refugee camp in Myebon Township and over 20 from the Kyauktalone refugee camp in Kyaukpyu Township in Rakhine State.

In September, when the authorities seized a row boat on the Hmansi Creek in Sittwe, three people drowned in the water trying to escape and eight were arrested. In a separate incident, 11 people died when their boat capsized in Minbya Township.

The government has beefed up security personnel and containment measures along the Rakhine Coast, including the use of border patrol speedboats.

Last modified on Thursday, 30 October 2014 12:29