Local officials are arranging buses to Buthidaung jail so that villagers can visit relatives detained in connection with an insurgency in Rakhine State.
Hundreds of Muslim Rohingya have been arrested since security forces began a crackdown in the wake of October 9 attacks on border guard posts at the northern fringes of the state. The lethal, pre-dawn assaults have been pinned on a nascent Rohingya insurgent group.
On March 20, the Maungdaw Township Administration office arranged for residents of Maung Nama village tract to visit the jail, according to Hakim, a local villager
He said on March 18, the government officials came to collect payment from anyone who wanted to join the trip. Most people were charged K5,000 per head, but according to Hakim, one man was charged K14,000. By the residents’ count, 23 people from Maung Nama village tract have been detained since October 9, however, one is unaccounted for.
On March 20, about 18 people joined the bus trip to visit with detainees at the jail. They returned in the evening on the same day.
Villager Md Zubair said it appears that the detainees are being treated OK, with adequate food and access to medicine as needed.
Bus trips are also being arranged for other village tracts in northern Maungdaw township.
The government has provided scant information regarding the number of people arrested in the Rakhine state security operation and what charges, if any, the suspects may be facing.
Reuters reported earlier this month that children as young as 10-years-old are among the hundreds of Rohingya detained.