Rathedaung — Rakhine rebels from Arakan Army (AA) ambushed a Rohingya-owned engine boat commandeered by Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) in northern Rathedaung on Sunday (Mar 10) evening, reports say.
There were nineteen policemen and three women apparently relatives of some policemen on the boat along with two Rohingya men from 'Arkar Taung' village (taken as forced labours to steer the boat). After the ambush attacks, twelve police personnel and one woman went missing or feared dead and one more policeman was left injured.
"On March 10 evening, nineteen Border Guard Policemen (BGP) from 'Oo Phauk' BGP Camp commandeered a Rohingya boat from 'Arkar Taung' Rohingya village in northern Rathedaung to transport them and the other three women to 'Nyaung Chaung' BGP Camp in Buthidaung. As they reached by 'Chaung Wa' hamlet of 'Ahtet Kywe Kyo Maw' village on their way to 'Nyaung Chaung' Camp along the 'Mayu' River, about thirty Arakan Army rebels chased their boat and opened firing at them with heavy weapons. As result, the boat got shattered and capsized.
"The place of the attack is about four furlongs away from the 'Nyaung Chaung' BGP Camp. As the BGP from the Camp came out and began firing at the AA rebels in response, the AA members retreated and fled with their boat towards the south of the Mayu River" said a Rohingya man in Buthidaung on condition to withhold his identity.
Seven BGP personnel and two women managed to escape from the attacks, twelve more policemen and one woman went missing or were feared dead. A dead body of a policeman was found floating in the river at night. And one of the seven policemen who reached to the 'Nyaung Chaung' camp alive suffered bullet injuries.
The two Rohingya villagers (taken as forced labours by the BGP to steer the boat) survived the attacks but they lost their boat. When the fightings took place, the local Rohingya genocide survivors from the neighboring villages were said to have been terrified due to extremely loud sounds of gun shots and are now increasingly worried of becoming victims in fights between the Rakhine militants and the Myanmar military in the future.
On Monday (Mar 11), the boat was found floating upside down at the mouth of 'Wa Ma Cha' River. And also about ten Rakhine militants with two boats were also seen waiting by the mangrove forest at the bank of the river.
The Rakhine rebel group also attacked a police post in 'Ponnagyun' Township on March 9 and a few Police posts were withdrawn from Rathedaung and Buthidaung Township afterwards.
Similarly, when the Myanmar military arrived at the village of 'Arkar Taung' around 10 pm on March 8, the Arakan Army rebels besieged them and attacked them from three fronts. Although no Rohingya villager was reported to have been hurt in the clash, one cow has died from bullet injuries. Trees and houses in the Rohingya village were hit by bullets.
"We fled towards the north of the village and hid there in a safe place. That's why were not hit by any flying bullets. If both Myanmar military and Arakan Army had fought away from our village, these bulltet wouldn't have rained down on our places. Now, we are worried of safety and security for our lives," said an elderly villager in northern Rathedaung.
[Reported Aung Min; Edited by M.S. Anwar]
Some of the photographs of the houses and trees hit by bullets in the clashes between Myanmar military and Rakhine militants are below: