100 Arakanese arrested, some tortured

Police in Rangoon have reportedly rounded up and arrested nearly 100 Arakanese nationals, some of whom were tortured, following suspicion that they were linked to a bomb attack in late February.

A coordinator of the Rakhine [Arakan] Club said that the wave of arrests took place in Hlaingtharyar and Insein township, the site of the bombing, after an Arakanese man who lived with one suspect initially arrested by police went into hiding.

Another Arakanese national told DVB that six people, including the Rakhine Club’s chairman, Saw Hla Aung, were detained and interrogated for days. Saw Hla Aung was reportedly handcuffed, and when he questioned the harsh treatment, was told he was “definitely going to prison”.

“They also said: ‘You Arakanese are arrogant and we’ve been longing to beat you up. We’ll send you lot into prison’,” according to the man.

All have since been released after police failed to find any link between them and the bombing, which took place in Insein township’s Aungzaya Housing Complex on 27 February.

But a 29-year-old man identified as Kyaw Hla Sein is believed to have been tortured for nearly 10 days to the point were he has required treatment for trauma, while another Arakanese taxi driver whom police suspected had driven the accused had a rolling pin rolled on his calf, and now has difficulty walking.

Officials at Insein and Hlaingtharyar police stations were unavailable for comment.

Eight people were inured in the February attack, which a government official said happened after a 26-year-old man “accidentally” triggered an explosive device he was carrying near to a street stall.

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