Nay Pyi Taw November 18
Four detainees suspected of being involved in the deadly 9th October ambushes on border police outposts in northern Rakhine claimed that they were forced to undergo the terrorist training and then join with violent attackers and set fire to their own villages.
The suspects, who were arrested during the clearance operations by the government troops and the border guards, made the claims while being questioned by the authorities in accordance with the law.
The testimony of the suspects revealed a systematic recruitment of members of the Muslim community in the northern Rakhine State by foreign Muslim extremists that was carried out by the intimidation and the threat of execution.
“They said that they would shoot me or cut my throat and kill me if I did not do their course. Twenty people from our village had to attend the course, which was conducted at the back of the Mayin Mountain", said Jarbuman, a suspect who was detained from Pwintphyuchaung village on 12th November. "On the day the fighting broke out, we fired to our villages and left. The group also had 10 guns and 10 swords”.
Mammud Iserlan, another detainee from the same village, said that the Muslim cleric at the local mosque acted as an organizer. The cleric told villagers that people from Bangladesh would come soon and we need to cooperate with them to attack the troops of the government, which would never recognize them as the Rohingya.
"He also said that one person from each household had to join in the attacks. Otherwise, all family members would be slashed at their throats.
They also told us that we needed to shout words like ‘Muslim’, ‘Rohingya’, ‘Nakaburi’ and ‘Wutsforce’. Courses were conducted in the valley. They said they waited a long time as they were promised the recognition of the Rohingya, but that never happened. When the attacks broke out, we were at our village with our swords. Some villages were set on fire by people who infiltrated from Bangladesh and some local rogues. Villagers had to take to the streets with swords when the attacks broke out”, Iserlan said.
Another detainee, Eielhar, who was arrested in Yedwingone village, said that “Muslim Bengalis set fire to the village on 13th November. I think about one hundred houses were burnt down”.
A fourth suspect, Sauduarmein of Kyaingchaung (North) village, said: “We were gathering people with swords, slingshots and wooden clubs to rob the weapons of the security forces. Before the night of the attacks, they took our elders into the jungle. They also put fire on our village and went into the forest.”
The interrogation of the detainees revealed that the violent attackers forced one man from each local family to join with them under the threat of the slashing death of their family members, according to the information committee of the State Counsellor’s Office. The detainees told the committee and interrogators that the local Muslim villagers were instructed to wait to attack the government troops with swords and sticks. The detainees also said the arsons in the villages were done by the violent attackers themselves, or by those under their direction.
The Myawady Daily