Reinforcement of hundreds of fully armed Burmese government troops into villages around Maungdaw township, northern Rakhine State, since early afternoon today is causing panic among local Rohingya communities.
Villagers in Shwezarr, north of Maungdaw town, saw about seventy combat-ready Burma Army troops arriving in their village at 1:30 pm, just after their Friday prayers, and rushed back from the mosque to take shelter in their homes.
Over a hundred troops have arrived in Hlatha village, and nearly a hundred in Myoma Khayoungdan village, with similar numbers in Maungdaw town Block Number 5 and Maung Ni village, according to Halim, a Maungdaw resident.
Another local source has reported that the Burma Army is organizing for the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) to stage an attack in Maungdaw, and this will be the pretext for the Burma Army reinforcements to attack and destroy the remaining Rohingya villages in Maungdaw.
Meanwhile, since December 9, 2019, two to three government Military Intelligence (MI) officers have been deployed in each of the Rohingya villages around Maungdaw, said Halim.
On December 12, 2019, an MI officer dressed in Islamic religious leader’s robes and two MI officers wearing Burkhas (black dress covering for women) went to Myoma Khayoungdan village to arrest Zaibur Rahaman, the son of Nuru, for alleged drug trafficking. The family members screamed when they saw the disguised MI officers handcuffing Zaibur, and other villagers rushed to the spot and beat them off. The officers fired a pistol three times in the air then ran away.
An hour later, the officers returned in a jeep with reinforcements, and arrested not only Zaibur Rahamhan, but fifteen other villagers, including his brother Hamidul Rahaman, who was hit by the officers’ jeep and injured in the leg. The villagers were taken to the MI office in Maungdaw town, according to Rashid Ahmed, a relative of Zaibur.
Local villagers say Zaibur was not a drug trafficker, but was likely arrested for extortion purposes.
Also on December 12, 2019, in Maungdaw Block Number 2, the Burmese government administrative officer, Mujub Ullah, summoned the committee of six mosques to his office and ordered them not to pray for justice for the Rohingya during the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings against Burma, according to Rafique, a school teacher from Maungdaw.