By M.S. Anwar
Friday, June 6, 2014
Maungdaw, Arakan (Rakhine) State: Myanmar Military plan to use local Rohingyas in Maungdaw District as shields in case that a war between Myanmar and Bangladesh breaks out, according to a local of Maungdaw. Besides, Military and Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) are forcing Rohingyas to go to the front line Myanmar-Bangladesh Border as porters.
Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) ambushed and killed a trooper of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) between Border Posts 52 and 53 in north-western Maungdaw on May 28, 2014. Since then, gun battles and skirmishes between BGP and BGB have been often taking place. Consequently, tension at the Border has reached at its peak. Both countries have been reinforcing armed forces along the land border and naval forces along the maritime border. (For more about Myanmar-Bangladesh Border Crisis, please click HERE)
Rohingya people, already victims of ethnic cleansing, are likely to become preys of Myanmar’s brutal war tactics again.
On 30th May 2014, Administrator of Maungdaw District, U Aung Myint Soe, summoned administrators of Rohingya villages for a meeting in his office. “In the meeting, he said that there was a battle going on in northern Maungdaw. He ordered each of the village administrators to provide at least 30 people from his village to go to the front line of the battle as porters” said a village administrator on the condition of anonymity.
“Myanmar Military has also made a demand of 10-15 Rohingya people per village to go the front line as porters. When we replied that we can’t do it, they said they would use Force to take Rohingyas as porters with them” he added.
Moreover, Myanmar Military and Border Guard Police (BGP) are now planning to use Rohingyas as shields in case that a war with Bangladesh breaks out.
“There are numbers of Rohingyas trained as volunteer fire brigade at villages like Ywet-Nyo-Taung and Kyeing-Chaung (Bawli Bazaar) in northern Maungdaw. Starting on 3rd June 2012, BGP in the mentioned villages have been forcing the Rohingya Fire brigade to take up short term battle exercises. When they asked why they needed to take up battle trainings, BGP replied that the trainings were for their own protections. They would have to continue taking up trainings for two weeks” said a villager of Kyeing Chaung.
“Government has never every provided us any training. Since the fight with BGB began, they started forcing Rohingyas to take up trainings. We fear that they will use us in the front line to fight against Bangladesh Forces in case of any war with them. If we refuse to do as they say, they will kill or imprison us claiming that we are traitors. We don’t know what to do. We are really stuck and being kicked around” he continued.
Mizzima reported that the meeting between Bangladesh and Myanmar officials held in Maungdaw on 5th June 2013 also ended in arguments. Therefore, there could be escalation of border crisis and more worries for Rohingyas.
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