Arakan Rohingya Union and European Rohingya Council Condemn the Violence in Northern Arakan/Rakhine State and Expresses Deep Concerns over the Emerging Humanitarian Crisis
On October 9, 2016, a group of unknown armed attackers reportedly carried out a surprise predawn attack on Burmese paramilitary border police (BGP) headquarters in Kyiganbyin, a police outpost in Kotankauk, and local police office in Ngakhuya in Maungdaw North in Northern Arakan/Rakhine state. According to the accounts by the Burmese Government, 9 members of the Burmese Police Force and 8 insurgents were killed, and stash of arms and ammunition were taken by the insurgents. Two insurgents were reportedly captured.
Initially, there had been some confusion over the identity of the insurgent group that had launched the attacks. However, on October 13, 2016, the Office of the President of Burma stated that the insurgent group that launched the attacks was identified as Aqa Mul Mujahidin with links to RSO whereas a Rohingya insurgent group, self-identified as Faith Movement has claimed the responsibility according to its statement released on Youtube. In the video and written statements, the insurgent group demanded the Government of Burma for cessation of all human rights violations against Rohingya people in Arakan and restoration of their basic rights.
Arakan Rohingya Union and the European Rohingya Council unequivocally denounce the attacks by the insurgents regardless of who they are – either Aqa Mul Mujahidin or the Faith Movement group.
As a result of the violence, over 90 innocent Rohingya civilians have been reportedly killed and over 400 Rohingya homes from seven villages have been torched by the Burmese armed forces. Arbitrary arrests and atrocities by Burmese police and discovery of three mass graves of Rohingya victims have been reported. Seven rape cases have also been reported. Looting of Rohingya homes and shops by Buddhist Rakhine from nearby Buddhist settlement villages (Natala) were reportedly rampant during the raid by the Burmese forces. However, no intercommunal clash has been reported as Rohingya people did not resist the looters accompanying the Burmese armed forces.
Over 8,000 Rohingya people have been reportedly displaced. Hundreds of Rohingya families have taken shelters in nearby Rohingya villages and in forest areas. The Government of Burma has reportedly evacuated the civil servants and a large number of Buddhist Rakhine population from the area. The blockade of all the land and water routes by the Government in Northern Rakhine state has also left a number of Rohingya villages with acute shortages of food, water, medicine and other life-sustaining supplies. A major humanitarian crisis in Northern Arakan state is looming.
We call on the Government of Burma to:
- Stop the extrajudicial killing of the Rohingya people, torching Rohingya homes, and permanently cease the hostility against innocent Rohingya civilians
- Stop fueling the violence by using incendiary phrases or words while referring to native Rohingya as “the outsiders Muslim population” (meaning illegal immigrants) in its press statement in Burmese language version (Para 4). It is incomprehensible that the Office of the President of the NLD-led Government of Burma did not show transparency and consistency, and omitted the word “outsiders” in the English language version of the press statement that is evidently intended for the international audience
- Compensate and rebuild all the homes of innocent Rohingya families that were burnt down by the Government armed forces
- Provide assistance to displaced Rohingya in Maungdaw area as the Government is assisting the Buddhist Rakhine community
- Remove all the blockades of land and water transportation routes and allow unhindered flow of food, medicine, and other life sustaining necessities
- Launch an investigation to the alleged extrajudicial killing, atrocities, and rape cases
We appeal the international community to:
- Exert pressure on the Government of Burma to address the basic rights of the Rohingya people with utmost urgency to avert radicalization and emergence of extremist groups in Arakan
- Call on the Government of Burma to discipline its armed forces to obey law and order and provide protection to innocent civilians
- Pressure the Government of Burma to stop the arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, and extrajudicial killing of Rohingya
- Mobilize resources to assist all people of Northern Arakan that were affected by the armed conflict
- Immediately dispatch an independent international team to monitor the situation and probe the violence in Northern Arakan
We call on the Rohingya community to:
- Oppose any form of violence in Arakan
- Fully cooperate with the law-abiding Burmese officials and armed forces, and lend support to the officials who are handling the situation justly in order to stabilize the area
- Provide full moral and material support to the displaced Rohingya families
- Remain calm and show utmost restraint from responding to attackers or the looters
- Make the best efforts to prevent communal violence and promote peace in the area
For more information, contact:
Dr. Wakar Uddin, Director General, Arakan Rohingya Union; +1 814 777 4498
Khairul Amin, Chairman, European Rohingya Council; +47 328 564 82