Tatmadaw Blockade Creates Food Crisis in Ann Township, Rakhine State

(Ann Township, Rakhine State – 22 June 2020):

The population of 42 villages in Da Let Chaung Village Tract, Ann Township, Rakhine State are facing food shortages due to an ongoing blockade, first imposed by the Tatmadaw in Jan 2020. Roads and waterways, in or out of Ann town that lead west, remain restricted for civilian use. The lack of food is affecting a total of 12,139 people who live in the village tract;

“Road transportation from Ann town and the waterway from Kan Taungkyi which are the main transport routes for the 42 villages in Da Let Chaung Village Tract have been blocked by the Tatmadaw since January 2020. There is an urgent need for rice supplies for more than ten thousand people.

According to sources, the reason for the blockade is based on concerns by the Tatmadaw that food items will end up in the hands of the Arakan Army (AA). Due to the shortage of rice and other staples, villagers from the township are currently only eating fruit such as bananas, jackfruits and mangos. The Tatmadaw has also undertaken measures to clear villages entirely;

The army [Tatmadaw] asked the population of certain villages to merge, in order so they [the civilian population] would be easier to manage. So far Da Let and Shan Kone villages have merged together, with the residents of Shan Kone moving to Da Let village. It is not forced, but they told us it would be easier for them to manage.”

According to local sources, access out of the village tract for government personnel or sick people, using the roads to Ann town, has been permitted. Local residents have approached the Tatmadaw based in the area about the emergency to which the army personnel responded that it would require a report to the commander’s office in order so a “systematic relief and response team” could be initiated and given access to the villages.

There are two Tatmadaw camps in the area where clearance operations are initiated. One camp is based in upper Da Let Chaung village and the other in Shan Kone village, both in Da Let Chaung Village Tract, approximately 25 miles west of Ann town. According to sources, there has been constant fighting close to these camps as the AA also maintain positions in close proximity.

Within the village tract, 37 villages are said to be occupied by Chin people, with the remaining 5 reported to be Rakhine villages.

For media inquiries please contact:
Salai Lian, +95 (0) 9450 687 296 (English/Burmese)
Salai Terah, 09255934177 (Burmese)

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