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Arakan Army accused of arson in Buthidaung; ASEAN parliamentarians call for the protection of Rohingya

Arakan Army accused of arson in Buthidaung

Residents of Buthidaung Township in northern Arakan State said that the Arakan Army (AA) has burned down nearly all Rohingya homes in the town since Saturday following orders to evacuate on May 17. 

“The residents were told to move, otherwise their lives might be in danger. But they didn’t move until the fires were started,” said a resident of neighboring Maungdaw Township. An unknown number of Rohingya were reportedly killed by the Burma Army attempting to flee Buthidaung for Maungdaw. 

Khaing Thukha, the AA spokesperson, told DVB that the AA did not carry out arson attacks on homes in Buthidaung. He blamed it on Rohingya armed groups and Muslim troops with the Burma Army. The AA seized Buthidaung on May 18. It now controls 10 towns in Arakan and one in southern Chinland. 

ASEAN parliamentarians call for the protection of Rohingya

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians For Human Rights (APHR) called on the U.N., ASEAN, and other members of the international community to take action to protect Rohingya in Arakan State following the reports of arson attacks in Buthidaung. 

“We are extremely alarmed and concerned by reports that the Arakan Army is indiscriminately attacking Rohingya civilians in northern Rakhine State. It is imperative that the international community act quickly in order to prevent further catastrophic loss of life and potential genocide,” said Chriesty Barends, the APHR chair and an Indonesian parliamentarian.

APHR stated that it has received reliable reports that the AA has been firing heavy heavy weapons at Buthidaung and surrounding villages since May 17. It added that the home of Shwe Maung, an APHR board member and former Buthidaung Township parliamentarian, was destroyed by arson. 

Sexual harassment experienced by some women on frontline

Hnin Thet Hmu Khin, an executive member of Burma’s women’s rights group Sisters to Sisters, told DVB that it has documented cases of women who serve in post-coup resistance groups facing sexual harassment from their male peers. 

“Women who are at the frontline and who are in armed groups, one of the things that they usually face is sexual harassment and things like catcalling and stalking. But they don’t get talked about to the surface level because many things are happening in a very subtle manner,” she said.

Hnin Thet Hmu Khin added that Burma’s patriarchal and conservative society makes it difficult for women to speak out about abuse and violence. Founded in April 2021, Sisters to Sisters has advocated on behalf of women in the resistance to the military coup. 

News by Region

Kachin Independence Army troops rest in Ahlawbum of Momauk Township in 2021. (Credit: KIA)

KACHIN—Resistance forces led by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) captured a military outpost in Katsu village near the Myitkyina-Bhamo highway in Waingmaw Township on Monday. “The military used heavy airstrikes and artillery attacks in order to protect the outpost, but the KIA seized and set it on fire,” said a source close to the KIA. Resistance forces have occupied eight military outposts in Waingmaw since Saturday.  

AYEYARWADY—More than 80 civilian homes in Ayeyarwady Region have been sealed off by the military from January to April. The military claimed the owners of the houses support the People’s Defense Force (PDF). “Most of the homes were owned by civilians,” said an anonymous source close to the regime’s administration in Ayeyarwady Region. Most homeowners have been charged with violating the Counter-Terrorism Law, Unlawful Associations Act, treason, or sedition. Thirty homes belonged to members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party and other political activists. 

CHINLAND—Residents of Kyikha in Tonzang Township claimed that resistance forces led by the Chin National Army (CNA) seized control of the town on Sunday. Resistance forces set fire to two military outposts. “There were not many military personnel in those outposts as they had moved from them since last week. Around 30-40 Zomi Revolutionary Army soldiers were stationed there,” said a Kyikha resident. More than 2,000 residents have fled to the border of India due to the fighting with the Burma Army.  

TANINTHARYI—The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) has documented that more than 6,000 civilians have been displaced from their homes  in Dawei district in May due to fighting between resistance forces and the Burma Army. “Hundreds of civilians are displaced daily due to the [military’s] indiscriminate artillery shelling. They are also not safe because of the increasing airstrikes. More than 6,000 people who have been displaced from 12-13 villages are in need of emergency assistance such as rice and food,” said Nai Aue Mon, the HURFOM spokesperson.  

Read: The fight to protect the Karen homeland of Kawthoolei. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow us on YouTube Music (app).

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