Junta troops and Rohingya militia jointly raid Rakhine village

Residents say more than 10 houses were burned and a young mother was shot dead.
By RFA Burmese
2024.05.07
Junta troops and Rohingya militia jointly raid Rakhine village Myanmar police officer poses for a photograph in Maungdaw, Rakhine July 9, 2019.
Ann Wang/Reuters

Junta troops accompanied by a newly recruited ethnic Rohingya militia raided a village in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Monday night, torching buildings and killing a young mother of two children, according to residents.

The attack on Maungdaw township’s Wai Thar Li village came amid widespread gains in Rakhine state by the rebel Arakan Army, or AA, that prompted the military regime to implement a draft to shore up depleted troop losses.

As part of its efforts, the military has reportedly forcibly recruited Rohingyas into pro-junta militias which it says must be formed to protect their Muslim faith in majority Buddhist Rakhine state. 

But observers say the junta is trying to stoke ethnic tensions in the region to slow the advance of the ethnic Rakhine AA.

A resident of Wai Thar Li, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, told RFA Burmese that the combined junta forces and Rohingya militia set fire to the village on Monday night and shot a 30-year-old woman dead as she fled from the raid.

"They raided the village last night. The military troops included junta forces and the newly recruited Rohingya militia,” said the resident. “After they entered the village firing their guns, the residents ran away.  When they couldn't [arrest] the residents, they set fire to their houses. More than 10 houses were destroyed. A woman was also shot and killed as she fled.”

A Myanmar security officer walks past burned Rohingya houses in Ka Nyin Tan village of suburban Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state, Sept. 6, 2017. (AP)
A Myanmar security officer walks past burned Rohingya houses in Ka Nyin Tan village of suburban Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state, Sept. 6, 2017. (AP)

The woman was the mother of two children, aged 3 and 7, said the resident, who identified her husband as villager Awine Chay. The woman’s name was not immediately clear.

Other residents of Wai Thar Li told RFA that the attack was carried out by junta troops from the No. 5 Border Guard Police Battalion and Rohingya recruits who received training at the battalion.

They said most residents of the 70-house village had already left the area the previous night, ahead of the raid.

RFA has been unable to independently confirm claims that junta troops and Rohingya forces were responsible for the arson and death of the woman.

Attempts by RFA to contact Hla Thein, the junta’s attorney general and spokesperson for Rakhine state, for comment on the attack went unanswered Tuesday.

AA gains in Rakhine

Monday’s raid came on the same day that the AA, which ended a year-long ceasefire in November that had been in place since the military seized power in a February 2021 coup d’etat, released video footage that it said showed at least 200 junta troops surrendering

The AA said that some of the soldiers pictured in the videos were captured from five battalions in late March and April, identifying the battalions as the 552, 564, 565 and 551.

Junta soldiers as well as some Rohingya Muslims could also be seen in the video footage released by the AA.

Myanmar soldiers stand guard in Maungdaw, Rakhine state, July 9, 2019. (Ann Wang/Reuters)
Myanmar soldiers stand guard in Maungdaw, Rakhine state, July 9, 2019. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Some Rohingya have complained of being forced into the junta’s army, which just seven years earlier, tortured, raped and killed thousands of Rohingya in Rakhine state and sent nearly 1 million fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh.

Since November, the Arakan Army has captured nine townships across Rakhine state. Fighting continues in Ann, Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and Kyaukpyu townships.

The AA recently seized No. 1 Border Guard Force headquarters in Maungdaw’s Kyee Kan Pyin village, which is the biggest military outpost in the township.

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.

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