Plight of Rohingyas

‘Are we humans?’

Gias Uddin . Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar | Update:

Rafiq broke into tears while narrating the graphic and gory details of torture he underwent in Myanmar.

Rafiq’s narrative gives the reader a glimpse of the plight of Rohinyas who are suffering rape, arson and murder in Myanmar’s military crackdown.

“Army men locked up my sons, wife and parents in a room and set it on fire. I lost them all in fire,” said Rafiq.

His 15-year old cousin Majeda was gang-raped by four army men and then shot dead.

He said, “They spared only 26 rich men out of 155 people in the village. The rest were beheaded.”

“Are we not human? Is it our fault to be born as a Rohingyas?” he asked.

Rafiq used to live in the village Gajarbil of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, near the Bangladesh border. The army attacked their village in the second week of December. 

rohingya

It took him 12 days to flee the persecution and to reach the Teknaf Rohingya camp.

Fresh military crackdown on minority Rohingya people in Myanmar started on 29 October 2016.

Thousands headed towards Bangladesh to take refuge after the crackdown. 

United Nations said on Monday a total of 65 thousand Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to date. 

Noor Haba, 26, managed to escape with her children but her husband was shot dead.

Those who escaped from the Rakhine State, told this correspondent that military men, police and the Nadala group went on a spree of killing, rape and arson in at least 23 villages of the Rakhine State.

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A happy family torn apart

Five members of Kabir Ahmed’s family came to Bangladesh from the village Mongdu Poakhali of the Rakhine state in Myanmar on 25 December. Kabir’s wife Taslima Bibi and their three daughters, Dilshan, Afsan and Nur Shah, are now staying at Abdul Jabbar’s house at Block-C in the Leda refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar district.

Our reporter talked to them on 6 January. The couple said they had been happily living in Poakhali of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. They had adequate income from their grocery shop there. They had a good relations with the neighbours, too.

Suddenly things changed when armed men dressed in Myanmar army uniform surrounded their village. They attacked Kabir’s house and picked him up, tying his hands with rope.

Taslima said, “They took my husband away in front of me with other men of the village. They blindfolded my husband and fastened his mouth with scotch-tape.  I repeatedly begged them to release my husband, but they didn’t pay any heed.”

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Taslima went on, “They didn’t stop there. The armed men dragged us out of our house and torched it. When the house was in ablaze, I just managed to escape with my children and crossed the river Naf to reach Teknaf.”

After reaching Teknaf, Taslima underwent medical treatment. She hasn’t recovered fully from the trauma.

Taslima’s husband, Kabir Ahmed, said, “The army abandoned me in the river Naf assuming that I had died during the torture. I have just got back from the jaws of death. The army tortured me excessively.”

“During the torture, I fell senseless. Then they abandoned me in the river. At one stage they asked for Tk 50 lakh as ransom,” Kabir continued.

“I can’t sleep when I recall the torture.”

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Pregnant Rohingya woman suffer

Rahima Khatun, wife of Nur Kabir, is pregnant, and she escaped from their village with her toddler and took shelter at Leda Rohingya camp. She narrated the horrific army attack at their village Ojabprang. The Myanmar army cordoned off the village and brought all the people out of their houses. Then set the houses on fire and took her husband, along with other men of the village with them. “I’ve lost my husband, I’m pregnant and have another child. I don’t where I’ll go at a time like this,” she said.

Another victim is Nur Begum, who came from Naisaprung village, who took shelter at the camp. She said the Myanmar army took her husband a couple of days ago then their houses were torched. She also said her three sisters-in-law were raped and her male cousins were taken by the army. Nur Begum does not know where her relatives are now.

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According to the Rohingyas, the men, who were taken by the army, were buried and some were torched perhaps, and the women were raped before being killed. Many corpses were seen besides lakes and the jungles of Mongdu city. The few who could escape are living in misery an hunger.

The Myanmar army is very cautious so that these incidents are not leaked to the internet or any media. 

Rohingyas want recognition

The president of Rohingya camp management committee Dudu Mia said “We will return to Myanmar if the world leaders recognize us as Rohingyas. The Rohingyas who are living in Bangladesh for thirty years will go back too. The Myanmar army is committing genocide there and now trying to cover it up.” 

 

*The article is rewritten in English by Kohinur Khyum, Sitesh Kumar Saha and Toriqul Islam

 

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