Villagers who spoke to the UNSC delegation during their visit to northern Arakan state in May and shared their experiences of violence at the hands of the Burma military have been forced to disappear after the security agencies launched a hunt for them.
A Rohingya reporter told the Guardian that in the days before the UNSC delegation visited Arakan, authorities in Maungdaw township had warned the Rohingya in the surrounding villages against telling the envoys anything adverse about the government or security forces.
“Anyone disobeying the warning would face hard consequences, the authorities threatened,” the reporter said. Whilst most villagers refused to speak to the envoys after the threat, in the village of Nolboinna three teenage boys and a middle-aged woman were willing to defy the orders.
Soon after the envoys left Nolboinna, agents from Burma’s Sa Ra Pa or military intelligence unit and border guard police (BGP) arrived in the village looking for the Rohingya who had spoken to the envoys. Now they have been forced to flee for their safety.
The administrator and other villagers told the military that they did not know the three boys and the woman, but the security agencies are still carrying out searches across villages in the region, a Bangladesh-based Rohingya political activist Ko Ko Linn said to the Guardian.
“For speaking the truth these four Rohingya villagers are paying the price. As it happened in the cases of some others in the past, they are being hounded by the Burma forces,” Linn said.