One Village Official Killed, Another Missing in Myanmar’s Restive Rakhine State

myanmar-maungdaw-buthidaung-rathedaung-rakhine-state-oct-2016.jpg The map shows Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung townships in western Myanmar's Rakhine state.
RFA graphic

A local administration official from a village in Buthidaung township in western Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state was killed by unknown assailants on Friday, while another is missing after being abducted, a township official said.

“A group of people came into Pazonchaung village and took two village officials at around 3 a.m. this morning,” Kyaw Min Tun, township administrator, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

The official who was killed had his throat slashed 90 feet from his house, and the other one is still missing, he said, adding that the attack could be connected to extremists.

Other recent deaths possibly caused by extremists blamed for a major attack on government guard posts last October have occurred in the area.

An accidental explosion of handmade bombs in Buthidaung’s Theni village on May 4 killed two people and injured three others as victims assembled bombs, according to an announcement the State Counselor’s Office.

Security personnel who checked the village the following day found bags of potassium nitrate, sulfur, coal powder, and other materials used to make bombs near a forest. They launched an investigation of the incident.

Meanwhile, 30 civilians have been killed and 22 others have gone missing in neighboring Maungdaw township since Oct. 9, 2016, when deadly attacks on three local border guard posts occurred.

Buthidaung, along with Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships in the northern part of Rakhine state, were under a four-month crackdown from October 2016 to February 2017 after the raid by a militant group that claimed to represent the country’s Muslim Rohingya community.

About 1,000 people were killed during the crackdown, and roughly 90,000 Rohingya were displaced, with most of them fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh where they are living in refugee camps.

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in March to send an international fact-finding mission to Myanmar to investigate atrocities the country’s army is said to have committed against the Rohingya during the crackdown.

Rakhine state is home to about 1.1 million Rohingya, about 120,000 of whom live in internally displaced persons camps as a result of communal violence with majority Buddhists in 2012.

The Rohingya are denied basic rights, freedom of movement, and access to social services and education because they are viewed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although most have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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