A 16-year-old Rohingya Muslim girl has told AA that she was gang raped by police and a group of Rakhine villagers.
According to AA sources, at least 50 people were killed last month when a group of local Buddhists, backed by police, rampaged through the village killing the elderly, women and children. Following the violence, the western side of the village tract was set on fire; sources allege that the police were involved in this incident.
The girl, who has asked AA to protect her anonymity out of fear of the Myanmar authorities, said that the police and Rakhine villagers started the fire in the west of the village. She claims that after some Rohingya villagers tried putting out the flames the police fired on them, forcing them to flee into the fields. She was running away with her mother and aunt when the police grabbed her and placed her under arrest. However, she was not taken to a police station.
“The police took me to a market place between Du Chee Yar Tan and the Rakhine Khayae Myuing village,” she said. “They kept me in a grocery shop. Everything was locked,” she added. At first she said that the police spoke to her and asked her to convert to Buddhism, “I said no, I refused to convert,” she told AA. “They then beat me. I was slapped. Beaten with sticks,” she recounted. At this point her voice began to crack and she then began to cry.
“I remember it clearly. Just before dawn the first Rakhine man came in. He raped me. Then the others came in, one by one. It was four Rakhine men, and three police officers,” she sobbed. “One by one,” she repeated.
The account of the kidnapping was confirmed by the girl’s family members. The family is currently in hiding, as are many villagers from Du Chee Yar Tan village. Her family told AA that the 16-year-old has not seen a doctor or gone to a hospital out of fear of what may happen to them. The girl’s aunt said that they had given her some medicine to make sure that she would not get pregnant; the aunt could not name the pill, just that they purchased it from a local makeshift pharmacy.
Since the violence in 2012 that saw hundreds killed and over a 100,000 displaced, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have faced continuing violence and oppression at the hands of Buddhists and Myanmar security forces. The Rohingya Muslims, who the UN say are among the most oppressed minorities in the world, reside mainly in the Western Myanmar state of Rakhine.
Last year’s violence involved, according to Human Rights Watch, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity perpetrated with the aid of state forces.
Rohingya Muslims are not recognised as Myanmar citizens and have been the victims of a string of sectarian attacks perpetrated by local Buddhists and state forces for decades. Many Rohingya are forced to live in camps which lack adequate sanitation, access to water and food.
Last year an article claimed to have uncovered evidence that the Myanmar military had been raping Rohingya women. The Myanmar authorities have denied that anybody has been killed and have accused media organisations of fabricating the news.
Still crying the girl told AA: “I still remember their faces. I can point them out if I see them again.”
Rohingya Muslims are not recognised as Myanmar citizens under the 1982 Citizenship Law.