Burma

Rohingya Girl Found Dead, Allegedly Raped, in N. Rakhine

By Moe Myint 13 June 2019

YANGON—Local authorities have confirmed that an 11-year-old Rohingya girl was found dead near her village in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township Wednesday.

Maungdaw Township General Administrative Department (GAD) deputy administrator U Phyu Hla told The Irrawaddy the girl was found near the Rohingya village of Ngan Chaung. He declined to provide further details.

The GAD official said township officials could not confirm if the girl had been raped or not, directing questions to the police.

Maungdaw Police Captain Hla Htay, who told The Irrawaddy he was traveling to Sittwe Thursday morning, said he has no information about the case.

Ngan Chaung GAD official U Thin Ko Ko said the girl, named Samira, had been identified and her relatives held a funeral for her Wednesday afternoon, after hospital and police officials returned the body to the family.

A Maungdaw General Hospital staff member declined to comment over the phone whether they had carried out a postmortem examination on Samira.

According to U Thin Ko Ko, she had four siblings and a widowed mother she assisted with day-to-day activities.

He said the girl had left the village to round up and return the family’s goats from a field at about 4 p.m. Tuesday and disappeared shortly thereafter. That evening, her mother and neighbors began searching for her but, because the region is still under a curfew order, had to resume their search the following morning.

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday, villagers discovered the girl’s lifeless body inside of a bush.

U Thin Ko Ko said the body was found in a part of the village littered with the remains of many abandoned Rohingya homes.

Ngan Chaung village was once home to 1,000 Rohingya families until Myanmar military operations in Maungdaw Township in 2017 drove 720,000 Rohingya into refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. The sprawling refugee camps near the Myanmar-Bangladesh border are now the largest in modern history.

A UN fact-finding mission accused the Myanmar military of committing “ethnic cleansing” with “genocidal intent” against the Rohingya and urged the UN Security Council to prosecute the military’s leadership for it.

Of those 1,000 homes, 240 families still reside in Ngan Chaung village, leaving nearly 80 percent of the village abandoned.

Local Rohingya media reported that locals believe the girl was first gang raped then murdered by plainclothes Border Guard Police (BGP) from Na Kha Kha No. 6, or Battery 6, based about a 15-minute walk from the village. Rohingya Today cited two local women who claim to have seen BGP personnel from Battery 6 that had earlier been vandalizing an abandoned home later carrying something the size of a body wrapped in black tarpaulin at 6 p.m. Wednesday but did not know of the missing girl at the time.

“It’s very tough to accuse the perpetrators of belonging to a specific group without having any eye witnesses,” said U Thin Ko Ko said.

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