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A lady from

Yet Nyo Taung Village, Maungdaw Township,

Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Maungdaw refugee camp,
September 30, 2017

Bangladesh is to the west of our Ywet Nyo Taung

village. Big Bengali villages surround our village on
the east, north, and south sides.

One day (Aug 25, 2017), over 500 Bengalis with

black masks on, and holding guns and swords,
marched from Tha Yet Oak Village to our village
around 12:00 PM and opened fire. We had nowhere
to run, so all the villagers gathered and stayed in
the monastery. We heard so much gunfire. We called to the Navy and authorities for
help. The Navy came and shot back, and the Bengalis retreated.

Question: Were they wearing masks?

Answer: Yes, they were wearing masks and they were putting bombs along the
pathways. Villagers from Tha Yet Oak village saw that.

They had guns, swords and sticks. The police shot back, but there were too many
Bengalis. We could not go anywhere at that time. We were surrounded by Bengali
villages from every corner. We stayed in our houses during the day, and stayed in the
monastery at night.

During the 2016 violence, two boys from our villagers were murdered by Bengali
terrorists. Their bodies have not been found yet and still no information has been heard
about them. No one in our village was killed this time. A Bengali village is very close to
our village. We never did any harm to them.

They told us that they knew that the Buddhist Rakhine, policemen, and soldiers would
not harm them. They were more afraid of the Bengalis hiding in the mountains. The
Bengali villagers were afraid of being hacked and killed if they did not flee. They also
told us to flee after they had left their village.

We were very frightened and stayed at the monastery. We even thought we all would die
that day. We arrived here by with the help of an aid distribution boat.

Two days after they fled, the Bengalis with black masks marched towards us. We were
very frightened and stayed at the monastery. We even thought we all would die that day.
We arrived here with the help of an aid distribution boat. Many of our villagers are still
trapped in the village. Our village has nearly 40 households. Around 20 of them
are still in the village because roads are blocked. We have been very troubled living
there. We could not even go out from our village to go fishing or something. No one
dared to go to Maungdaw town because the Bengali put landmines in the road.
Interviewed by Rick Heizman 16
I am Ma Pwint Khine
My husband and I use to live in
Thiri Kone Boung,
Maungdaw Township,
Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Sittwe,
October 10, 2018

[Maung Chan Tha, and his wife Ma Pwint Khine, were

school teachers, in Maungadaw Township. That area is
majority Muslim now, because of the aggression of the
Muslims. However, Maung Chan Tha and his wife were
fully devoted to educating the Muslim kids, and they
both were popular and well-liked - until June 8, 2012]

I am Ma Pwint Khine, the widow of the Headmaster

of Post Basic Education Primary School. We lived in Thiri Kone Boung Village, Maungdaw
Township and worked at Zawmadat School.

My husband, Saya (honorific teacher) Maung Chan Tha, was murdered during the 2012
attacks by Bengali Muslims. I suffered and mourned a lot because of my husband’s
death in 2012, so did all of us local people. I suffered and mourned a lot because of my
husband’s death in 2012, so did all of us local people. Now, the same thing has
happened again, reminding us of the past anxiety and panic we would feel by just seeing
a Muslim. We have completely lost our trust with the Bengali Muslims.

[In 2012] some of the students we were close with confided in us that ‘something is
different now’ and ‘perhaps we should go away’ but we did not really believe them
because we had lived together for a long time and terrible things would not happen.
So, we did not run away to a safer place to defend ourselves with many other villagers.
When they came and raided our village we couldn’t run away fast enough and they
mercilessly attacked us.

So, I would like to say that the 2012 event is the same as now [2017] in which we lost
our trust of the Bengalis, and we cannot live together with them in the future. I would
like to request the authorities to think about the situation carefully and solve it. Local
indigenous people know, deeply, that there is no security if Bengalis are around. So,
security and safety is the major important issue.

Now, I am living in Sittwe and teaching at the Basic Education Primary School, in
Baukthisu Quarter. After the 2012 conflict happened I could not dare live in Maungdaw,
and I moved to Sittwe.

Everybody around the world should know that what happened at that time was started
by them (Bengali Muslims) and they inflicted a lot of horrible trouble on us. Now I can
clearly see - by looking at what happened in the past - that there is no way to coexist

Interviewed by Rick Heizman 19

with them. Now, all of us know that. I would like to repeat: there is no way to live
together with them.

Now the same experience, as in the past, has me grieving and feeling so sorrowful.
There were many people murdered in Kha Maung Sein village, and there are other
villages with similar disasters.

Local people from Kai Gyi and others Rakhine villagers were brutally slaughtered, and so
many had to flee to Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Rathedaung and Sittwe because they do
not dare stay in their home villages.

Seeing what happened recently makes me feel mournful. We, the indigenous people are
suffering a lot, and are facing many problems and difficulties. That’s why I say, how can
we continue to live together? There is no way to coexist at all. That is my own feeling.
This current conflict has made people homeless, leaving their paddy fields with what
they had planted, and they lost their cows and things because they could not return
back to their properties.

There is deep fear in our minds because we know what happened each day and each
hour there. So, I would like to request to all concerned people to think of the best way
to achieve a peaceful situation for us.

[She herself, was severely wounded, but managed to get away and ran up a small hill, and then
watched in horror as her husband was being killed with swords by his own 12-year old students,
the same students that liked him so much because he would let them ride his motorcycle.]

In Memorium - her beloved husband: Saya Maung Chan Tha

Interviewed by Rick Heizman 20

I am Ma Hla Thein
from Mingla Nyunt Village,
Maungdaw Township,
Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Sittwe refugee camp,
September 26, 2017

We were so afraid. Bengalis threatened us and

tried to kill us. We fled our village and stayed in
the jungle for 4 nights. We have lost our paddy
fields and fishery. We have been displaced from
our homes. Even with security, it is not possible
to live here. This happens again and again.

We cannot go back to our village, it is a remote area of Maungdaw. We can't live there
anymore, even we have security. This kind of violence will keep happening again.

Bengalis have killed our Rakhine people so many times. We have lost everything now.
We don't even have extra clothes.

We had to carry our babies when fleeing. We could not use cars because all the bridges
had been destroyed. Bengalis also threatened us that they will kill us if we return our

My husband who is still at the village called me and told me that Bengalis came again to
our village the day before. He said we can't stay anymore and he is coming here to
Sittwe today.

Interviewed by Rick Heizman 23

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