RANGOON — Police in Sittwe have alleged that a 51-year-old man raped a 5-year-old Arakanese girl early on Sunday evening in the backyard of a home in the city’s Setyonsu ward.
Investigating officer Aye Khin Maung told The Irrawaddy that the man, reported to be a military deserter, was apprehended the same evening in the Arakan State capital. He added that the police had sent an urgent message to the 378th Battalion, which is based in Mrauk-U, but had not received a response by the following morning.
“The culprit confessed, saying he was drunk at the time of incident,’’ Aye Khin Maung said.
The parents, who recently moved to Sittwe from a small village in Kyauktaw Township, were unavailable for comment on Monday. The victim’s father is a day laborer and her mother is unemployed, with the family living in a ward alongside a heavy presence of other squatters.
About 200 Sittwe residents gathered in front of the city’s police headquarters on Sunday night calling on officers to take legal action against the alleged perpetrator as soon as possible. Ward authorities and monks were among those present at the demonstration, which dispersed peacefully after authorities pleaded with protesters to calm down.
The victim is currently undergoing medical treatment at Sittwe Hospital.
In September, an eight-year-old girl was raped by a serving soldier in the same city, later dying while undergoing treatment in Rangoon.
Locals were incensed at the leniency given to the perpetrator, who was tried and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in a military court shortly afterward. Aye Khin Maung told The Irrawaddy that the offender would be tried before a civil court to receive an additional punishment if convicted.