'Dead live­stock and wa­ter run­ning out' in Rakhine vil­lage un­der lock­down

Mizzima Business Weekly - - NEW ROUNDUPS -

Rakhine vil­lagers trapped by a Myan­mar army lock­down said 14 May that they are fast run­ning out of wa­ter as the op­er­a­tion against the Arakan Army (AA)-- which killed six and saw mass de­ten­tions -- en­tered a third week.

Thou­sands of troops have been de­ployed across north­ern Rakhine to root out the AA in vi­o­lence which has dis­placed more than 30,000 peo­ple since De­cem­ber.

Myan­mar's armed forces are us­ing heavy ar­tillery against the AA, who are fight­ing for more au­ton­omy for the state's eth­nic Rakhine Bud­dhists, but civil­ians say they have been caught up in the op­er­a­tions. On 30 April, se­cu­rity forces raided the eth­nic Rakhine vil­lage of Kyauk Tan in Rathedaung town­ship, tak­ing 275 men for in­ter­ro­ga­tion at a school.

They ad­mit­ted shoot­ing dead six de­tainees and wound­ing eight more two days later, claim­ing the men tried to at­tack them.

Eight men have been ar­rested and taken to state cap­i­tal Sit­twe, mil­i­tary spokesper­son Bri­gadier Gen­eral Zaw Min Tun said, adding that six of them had con­fessed to be­ing AA mem­bers. He said all the re­main­ing de­tainees were re­leased Monday.

But res­i­dents told AFP by phone Tues­day the vil­lage re­mained sealed off -- and food and wa­ter sup­plies were run­ning dan­ger­ously low.

"Both hu­mans and an­i­mals are thirsty as we still can­not go out­side the vil­lage," said vil­lage el­der Tun Thein, 56.

"Some an­i­mals have died from star­va­tion and thirst," he said, adding sol­diers were still pre­vent­ing res­i­dents from mov­ing freely.

Another woman, ask­ing not to be named, said the vil­lagers were forced to boil "muddy wa­ter" to drink.

Zaw Min Tun said as far as he knew the only peo­ple still fac­ing con­straints were the re­leased de­tainees in case they were needed for "fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion".

Ac­cess to the north of Rakhine state is heav­ily restricted, mak­ing in­de­pen­dent ver­i­fi­ca­tion dif­fi­cult.

Photo: Arakan Army

Arakan Army troops.

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