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Rakhine Commission visits Rohingya camps

30 January 2017, 12:17:58

Teknaf Correspondent:After visiting Rohingya camps, Myanmar’s advisory commission on Rakhine State, also known as Rakhine Commission, on Sunday heard from Rohingya Muslims who recently entered Bangladesh fleeing state-sponsored persecution in Myanmar about the military excesses they faced.

A three-member delegation of the commission reached Cox’s Bazar Sunday morning and visited a number of the Rohingyas while visiting two makeshift settlement camps at Ukhiya and Teknaf.

The commission stayed less than an hour starting from 3:10pm at the Leda makeshift settlement camp at Teknaf. It interviewed Jamal Hossen, 50, who fled military atrocities at his village Jambuniya in Northern Maungdaw.

‘We were three brothers. Military shot one of them dead and caught another one before setting my house afire,’ Jamal told the commission.

‘I was lucky to escape. I entered Bangladesh crossing the Naf river,’ he added.

Jamal left his mother behind. He told the commission that he wanted to return to his mother as soon as he got the chance.

The commission also talked to rape victims at the Leda office of International Organisation Migration.

Earlier, the commission made a half-an-hour visit to Balokhali refugee camp at Ukhiya at about 11:45am. There the commission interviewed rape victims and injured Rohingyas.

The Roghingyas earlier told a UN rights delegation that Myanmar military carried out a bloody offensive at 31 villages in Northern Maungdaw after a coordinated insurgent attack killed nine security personnel in the area on October 9, 2016.

According to them, 693 Rohingyas were killed, 798 women were raped and 1,000 were arrested during the drive. Hundreds of houses and other property belonged to the Rohingyas were burned to ashes.

According to the United Nations, about 66,000 refugees entered Bangladesh fleeing the violence until January 12.

Myanmar’s state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi formed the advisory commission with the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2016 for finding ways to establish peace in the strife-torn Rakhine state.

The commission chairman former UN secretary general Kofi Annan visited northern Maungdaw in December 2016 for assessing the extent of violence there.

International rights bodies censured the commission soon after it was established as none of the six members of the commission was from the ethnic minority, Rohingya community.

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