By Rohingya Eye | April 28, 2017
Maungdaw – The Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) arrested 7 Rohingya fishermen in southern Maungdaw on April 19 on allegations of having connections with armed robbers operating in the region, reports say.
The gang of the armed robbers led by a man named ‘Abdul Hakim’ is notorious for robberies in the region and kidnapping people for ransom. The men arrested are reported to be simple fishermen with no connections with the robbers.
On April 17 night, the robbers sneaked into the village of ‘Thawan Chaung’ locally known as ‘Bossara’ in southern Maungdaw and the villagers came together to capture the robbers. The robbers, however, opened fires at the mob and fled. One Rohingya cleric named ‘Mv Halim (28)’ was injured during the shooting. [Read the report: HERE]
A villager in Thawan Chaung said “Border Guard Police (BGP) based at the village of ‘KoeTanKauk’ held a meeting with the villagers of ‘Thawan Chaung’ on April 18 morning in relation to the incident on the earlier day. In the meeting, the BGP ordered ‘you have to capture the robbers and hand them over to us if they sneak into your village again.’
“The villagers replied ‘it’s extremely difficult task for us now as we don’t have any swords or iron rods in our homes anymore as you have seized them all. So, we won’t be able to capture them.’”
A BGP and Military joint force besieged the village of ‘Inn Din (locally called ‘Aan Daang’) later in the evening from 7 PM to 4 AM on April 19. During the siege, the joint armed force arrested seven local fishermen going for fishing in a nearby river at around 3:00 AM and detained in the ‘Inn Din’ BGP camp afterwards.
On April 20, the Information Committee of the State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, declared that these seven were arrested on charges of having links with the armed robbers. However, the locals unanimously claim that these fishermen arrested are simple people that live their lives peacefully.
U Aye Myint, a human rights observer based in Maungdaw, noted “this could be a case of misinformation by the BGP to the team of SCOIC (the State Counsellor Office Information Committee) or SCOIC is deliberately spreading lies about the fishermen. These overwhelming opinions of the villagers in support of the fishermen can’t be wrong.
“Besides, this robber gang led by Abdul Hakim is nothing new but have been conducting robberies for years. They have apparently been set free to commit robberies and none of their members have been nabbed by the BGP or the Military yet.”
The locals in southern Maungdaw strongly claim that the gang of the armed robbers operate with the collaboration of the BGP and the Military. And the BGP and the Military do not nab the robbers as they receive monthly payments from them (robbers).
Of the seven people arbitrarily arrested, two were released on April 24 and the remaining five people were sent to Buthidaung prison without any trials. The five victims imprisoned are:
- Rabbi (20), s/o Anas
- Mohammed Yusuf (45), s/o Abdu Salam
- Rafiq Ullah (23)
- Siraaju (25)
- Nurul Islam (24), s/o Mohammed Auli
[Edited by M.S. Anwar]
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