Rohingya refugees from Kha Maung Seik (Fokira Bazar) village tract of northern Maungdaw, where mass graves of Hindus have allegedly been found, say they fled with their Hindu neighbours from attacks by Burmese security forces, and that no ARSA attack took place in their area on August 25.
The government’s Information Committee claims there was a tip off of a mass killing by “about 300 ARSA terrorists” in Yebawkya village, Kha Maung Seik village tract, on August 25, leading security forces to unearth the bodies of 45 Hindu villagers on September 24 and 25.
Rohingya refugees from Kha Maung Seik village, where Hindus live alongside them in Yebawkya and Ah San Kyaw (Siyon Suri) villages, say there was no sign of any operation or attack by ARSA on August 25, and that if such a massacre had taken place they would have heard about it.
Yebawkya has only about 20 Hindu families, who work mainly as barbers and potters, mingling closely with the Rohingya.
Rohingya from neighbouring communities in Kha Maung Seik say that Burmese security forces began attacks on Kha Maung Seik on August 26.
“The Burmese troops shelled our village in the middle of the night (on August 26). My wife and two young children are now missing,” said a 64 year old Rohingya refugee from Ah San Kyaw, now sheltering at Kutupalong in Bangladesh.
Refugees say that they saw the Hindu residents of Yebawkya fleeing together with them when Burmese security forces began attacking on August 26.
“They fired guns from Let Ya Chaung Border Guard Post into our village, killing and injuring women and children. We all ran to the mountain. There were thousands of us, including Hindus from nearby villages,” said a refugee from Thit Tone Nar Gwa Sone (Riazuddin Para), near Kha Maung Seik village tract.
Refugees from Yebawkya village are among over 500 Hindus from Kha Maung Seik village tract who have set up a separate Hindu refugee camp near Kutupalong in Bangladesh, where they are receiving aid from Hindu donors.
Rohingya refugees from northern Maungdaw are now wondering about the identities of the bodies allegedly found in the mass graves. There have been reports of killings of hundreds of Rohingya civilians by Burmese security forces in Tula Toli and Done Paik, south of Kha Maung Seik village tract, in late August.
Government footage shows unearthing of bodies in very deep pits, raising questions of how the alleged ARSA killers had the time and equipment to dig such deep graves, in the midst of the reported attacks.