Interim Report of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw
1. This Maungtaw Region Investigation Commission was established with 13 persons by Presidential Order No.89/2016 dated 1-12-2016. It was tasked to investigate and find out the background situation and to detect the truth about the = violent attacks which occurred on 9th October, and 12th and 13th November, 2016 and also to make an assessment and give recommendations to prevent such incidents from occurring again in the future.
2. The Commission held three meetings, went on a field trip for the first time to the 10 villages and 4 Security Camps, and interviewed Security Police, Government Staff, Administrative Organizations, villagers from different community based organizations, and community elders. It also issued two Press Releases.
Incident on 9th October 2016.
3. At about 1:30 am on 9th October, 2016, about 100 violent attackers carried out a surprise attack on No. 1 Border Outpost Headquarters (Kyikanpyin) in Maungtaw Township. Meanwhile, at 3:30 am, about 30 armed men attacked the Kotankaung Border Outpost in Yathedaung Township and at 4:30 am, about 50 armed men attacked Ngakhuya Border Outpost using guns, machetes and slingshots for shooting iron projectile. In the surprise attacks, nine policemen were killed and six policemen, a wife of a policeman and one civilian were injured, and assorted arms including 52 arms and ammunition were lost. Two violent attackers were captured with one hand-made weapon and eight bodies of attackers were found.
Incident on 12th November 2016
4. At about 6:45 am on 12 November, 2016, when combined troops comprising members of the Tatmadaw and the Myanmar Police Force arrived near Mayintaung Village, about 70 violent attackers armed with guns, machetes and spears came out from hiding in the forest and ambushed the troops. In the fighting, one soldier was killed and an officer and another soldier were injured. Six violent attackers were found dead and one gun and some ammunition were seized in the incident. Upon arrival at Pwintphyuchaung Village at 10:30 am, the security forces found that some houses were on fire. At 10:55 am, violent attackers detonated a mine on a bailey bridge near Maunghnamataung Village, attacking a convoy carrying police and employees of the Immigration and Population Department and also fired at the convoy. At 2:15 pm, about 800 violent attackers armed with guns, machetes and spears came out of Gwazon Village and nearby villages and attacked security forces, killing one commanding officer and injuring two soldiers. As the troops were under attack, to disperse the attackers, two MI-2 helicopters fired on them. At 3:20 pm, armed attackers carried out a mine attack on a car carrying police at Phawkitaung Bridge. Violent attackers also carried out a mine attack on a convoy carrying security forces at 4:50 pm.
Incident on 13 November 2016
5. At about 9 am on 13 November, security forces led by border guard police conducted an area clearance operation in Gwazon Village and found about 50 burnt houses. In the operation, seven attackers armed with machetes carried out a surprise attack on the security forces and the security forces returned fire, killing six attackers. At 1:00 pm, as border guard forces entered Dargyizaung (Taung) Village, they were ambushed by 25 attackers armed with clubs and machetes and the security forces returned fire killing 19 violent attackers. About 4:30 pm, acting on a tip-off that about 10 violent attackers were in Wabeik Village, security forces conducted an area clearance operation in the village. Violent attackers withdrew from the village during the operation and security forces found burning houses and extinguished them. In that incident, one mosque and several houses were not burnt.
Persons who took a Leading Role in the Maungtaw incident
6. Violent armed attacks in the Maungtaw region were conducted by Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO)-linked Aqa Mul Mujahidin that operated in Maungtaw region. The leader of this group is Havid Tuhar, alias Arpu Hamad Zooluni, 45, a religious and racial extremist residing in Kyaukpyinseik village, in Maungtaw township. He attended a 6-month training programme conducted by Taliban extremists in Pakistan. Havid Tuhar sometimes used to live in a village near Teknaf in Bangladesh as well, taking asylum as a refugee who received monetary subsidies from organizations from Middle East countries. Those who cooperated with him were 12 people, including a Pakistani named Khalip, who resides in Bangladesh, who had been in Ngakhura village; Ibrahein, Azar and Arab Tular who are residing in the Kutapalong refugee camp in Bangladesh; Zubai and Islam, who are residing in the Nilar refugee camp. Starting five months ago, they entered Maungtaw region under the arrangement of Havid Tuhar. They conducted terrorist trainings to radicalised youths organised by Havid Tuhar, according to the confessions of three men who were arrested — Mamad Nurar, Mamad San and Phosolarmauk. After the armed attack, Havid Tuhar posted propaganda video files at least ten times successively to join him to launch wars in the Maungtaw area. “Listen to me, all Rohingyas! If you want to save Islam and our Rohingya brethren residing in Rakhine State, come here, without living in your homes only. All youthful men come and join with us. We will wage war. If you are a real man, never be afraid of death!” they announced their statement in the file.
The significant things about the present incident in Maungtaw region
7. The present situation in Rakhine State is different from the previously broken out armed attacks in that area. Previous incidents were conflicts among local people. The present situation is the kind of armed attacks harming the sovereignty of the State, conspired systematically by violent attackers after 2012. As they are found to have connections with overseas organizations, this time is more complicated.
8. The present incidents have been found to be a conspiratorial terrorist attack designed so that the international community will take an interest in the matter that has been manipulated by extremist organizations at home and abroad and by war-experienced persons subsidized by destructive elements who wanted to instigate the people.
9. According to confessions of the arrested suspects, it was found that some people and
organizations from abroad are giving monetary aids through various methods with the intention of igniting riots and conflicts in the country.
Assessment on External Allegations
10. As regards the external allegations, the commission made special investigations. The Bengali population residing in Maungtaw region, the increasing population of Mawlawi, mosques and religious edifices are proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.
11. The Commission made special investigations into the allegations that there were rape cases, illegal arrests, torture and arsons in Bengali villages. Responsible security personnel
performing their duties in those villages submitted that they have been ready to take legal action against those who committed crimes if there was sufficient evidence. Concerning the claims that women were raped, the Commission interviewed local villagers and women by using various methods and didn’t find sufficient evidence to take legal action up to this date. As to the arsons, investigations are under way to get sufficient evidence. Illegal arrests and torture are also being investigated.
Condition of Security and rule of Law
12. There are now cases of abduction, threats and killing of those suspected to be informants and those who cooperated with the governmental departments and organizations. As violent attackers are easily entering villages in the Maungtaw area, the conditions of peace and stability are seriousness. Weapons looted from police outposts are still in vj’s hands as well as handmade mines were seized from their hidden places. These can be assumed to be threatening the security and rule of law of the area. It is found that it will take time to perform the tasks of making the area safe, peaceful and stable, and for people living in the area to reside in peace and safety.
13. Upgrading socio-economic development, increasing their income and creating economic opportunities in the area will take time. For the time being, the economic status of most of the people in the area is low. Although the whole state can be said to be poor, no cases of malnutrition were found in the area, due to the area’s favourable fishing and farming conditions.
14. The Commission managed to make arrangements in consultation with the Rakhine State Cabinet for sellers and buyers to perform their daily routines in a normal way by opening bazaars, for students to learn as usual by opening schools, for humanitarian aid groups to help local villagers by allowing them to do so and for members of the media to freely go and cover the news as they wish. Now that the Maungtaw region border gate has been reopened, 26 village bazaars and the two Township Development Committee-run markets are operating again as normal. Likewise, 171 schools out of 183 have been reopened.
15. Ten detainees who were found to be innocent of committing crimes in the violent attacks have already been released under section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under consultation with authorities from various departments and the Rakhine State Cabinet, legal action was taken against 485 suspects in 49 cases. Of them, 28 cases have been put on trial with 3 coming to a final conviction.
16. The Commission is carrying out its duties, being ever mindful that, as per the nature of these conflicts, illegal activities and potential conditions of fabricated rumors and news regarding the events.