PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — Police arrested seven self-identifying Rohingya and three others believed to be traveling to Yangon, in Kyangin Township, Irrawaddy Region on Wednesday evening.
Police spotted a car carrying seven self-identifying Rohingya at an inspection gate in Kyangin Township, and arrested them as well as the car driver and his assistant.
“In cooperation with the Rakhine Police Force, we also arrested a resident of Rakhine State’s Minbya Township called Ko Shae (aka) Kyaw Win (aka) Nyi Shae on Wednesday. He arranged for transportation of self-identifying Rohingya to Yangon. We will bring him to Irrawaddy and investigate,” spokesperson of Irrawaddy Division Police Force Police Lt-Col Khin Maung Latt told The Irrawaddy.
Myanmar’s minority Muslims in Rakhine State—who identify as Rohingya but are labeled “Bengali” by many—are denied basic human rights by the Myanmar government including access to healthcare, education, and freedom of movement.
Nearly 600,000 self-identifying Rohingya have fled northern Rakhine State since Aug. 25 after deadly militant attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army prompted a violent government security crackdown dogged by accusations of rape, extrajudicial killings, and arson.
The UN has labeled the government’s actions in Rakhine State a “text book example of ethnic cleansing.”
Kyangin Township Immigration department has filed a lawsuit against the seven self-identifying Rohingyas under Residents of Burma Registration Rules 1951. Police have charged the driver, his assistant and Ko Shae.
Police searched the truck at an inspection gate in Kyangin Township’s Zibinkwin village-tract and discovered seven self-identifying Rohingyas hiding among 260 rice bags in the truck.
According to an initial police investigation, driver Hla Myint and his assistant Yan Maung Tun transported commodities from Yangon to Sittwe and arrived in Minbya on October 15. There, the two met Ko Shae who persuaded them to take self-identifying Rohingyas to Yangon and paid 800,000 kyats in transportation fees for each of them.
Hla Myint accepted the job to transport the self-identifying Rohingya to ‘Min Mahar’ filling station in Yangon’s Hlaingthayar Township where a man called Abul Sede was supposed to meet them, according to the police.
Ko Shae picked up seven self-identifying Rohingyas onto the truck outside Minbya on Tuesday evening. The truck was stopped in Kyangin on its way to Yangon the following day, said the police.
“Taking a look at this case, we can see that they have connections and selected a route and acted according to a plan. We will keep increased security measures to find out similar cases,” said police Lt-Col Khin Maung Latt.
Police stations along the coast of Irrawaddy Region have been put on high alert since Aug. 26 over fears that violence in Rakhine State could spill over to the adjacent region.