A man in the Rohingya village of Duchira Dan in Maungdaw township, Arakan State, was shot dead on Monday after he reportedly swung a knife at police officers conducting an inspection in search of illicit narcotics, according to local police and the State Counsellor’s Office.
An officer with the Maungdaw police told DVB that acting on a tip-off, law enforcement personnel were searching for drugs at a home in Duchira Dan when they were confronted by a group of men.
“[Police] went to search for drugs at a home and were attacked by a group of people with sticks and swords, prompting them to open fire,” said the officer.
“A police [officer] sustained a knife injury and one of the attackers was captured dead.”
The State Counsellor’s Office also reported the incident, confirming the lethal shooting but making no mention of police having encountered a group of hostile men upon arrival at the premises. It said police went to the home of Hammad Tusaung, 50, in Duchira Dan (also spelled Ducheertan) on Monday when he attacked a police private with a 15-inch-long knife, wounding the officer’s arm. Hammad Tusaung was shot dead in self-defence, the State Counsellor’s Office said.
Law enforcement personnel searched the slain man’s home after the shooting and found drug paraphernalia, according to the report.
Maungdaw and other townships in northern Arakan State have become heavily militarised in the aftermath of deadly 9 October attacks on border guard posts, which prompted a security crackdown that has seen dozens killed. The government has described the perpetrators of the initial attack as Islamic militants and has rounded up hundreds of suspects since 9 October.
The report from the State Counsellor’s Office gave no indication that Hammad Tusaung’s death was related to the security crackdown, instead referring to him as a “suspected drug trafficker.”
In January 2014, communal tensions rose in Duchira Dan after a local police sergeant patrolling in the village went missing and was later found dead. A security crackdown was subsequently launched and international media reported dozens of Rohingya villagers were killed by Arakanese mobs in reprisal, but the government repeatedly denied that the alleged massacre took place.