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UN receives ‘frightening and disturbing’ reports from Arakan; Arakan Army calls them ‘baseless’

UN receives ‘frightening and disturbing’ reports from Arakan

An estimated 45,000 Rohingya residents of Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships in northern Arakan State have reportedly fled attacks and arson as the Arakan Army (AA) seized control of Buthidaung on May 18. The AA has now turned to Maungdaw in its attempts to wrest control of the 271 km border with Bangladesh. 

“Some of the most serious allegations concern incidents of killing of Rohingya civilians and the burning of their property. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in recent days by the fighting in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships,” said Liz Throssell, the spokesperson for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The U.N. stated that the Rohingya have fled to safety along the Naf River, close to the Burma-Bangladesh border. Over 700,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh during a 2017 military clearance operation labeled a genocide by the U.S. government in 2022. Over one million Rohingya live in overcrowded refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar.

Arakan Army calls UN report ‘baseless’

The Arakan Army (AA) responded to the U.N. and 195 civil society organizations, which signed a joint statement accusing the AA of committing a war crime and a crime against humanity in northern Arakan. 

“These are incorrect. They made one-sided accusations based on baseless [and] fabricated news. Such actions are unjust and do not contribute to resolving the ongoing issues,” said Khaing Thukha, the AA spokesperson.

The 195 civil society groups called on the AA to comply with international humanitarian law and protect the Rohingya. The AA took control of Buthidaung on May 18. Over 7,500 homes and at least six mosques were destroyed by arson in Buthidaung, where an estimated 260,000 Rohingya live.

Staff from the International Organization for Migration assess the damage caused by a fire in a Bangladesh refugee camp on May 24. (Credit: IOM)

Another fire at a refugee camp in Bangladesh

A fire took place at a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on May 24. Refugee leaders believe the incident was an attack perpetrated by the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), an armed group accused of abducting 30 young people on May 21. 

“Around five individuals from the RSO were seen carrying buckets of oil. Residents spotted them and gave chase, but they escaped. The Bangladesh Army responded and attempted to extinguish the fire,” a Rohingya resident told DVB.

There were no reported casualties. The Camp-in-Charge stated that the fire destroyed over 100 refugee shelters, which were constructed with flammable wood. More than 1,000 shelters were destroyed in a fire at a refugee camp in Bangladesh on Jan. 7.  

News by Region

KACHIN—Two jade miners died after a block collapsed on them in a mining pit in Hpakant Township on May 24. “The fallen block was approximately the size of a human. They were trapped underneath it,” a resident told DVB. Another miner was killed in a similar incident on April 7 in Hpakant.  

SAGAING—Five people were killed by the Burma Army during a raid on the immigration office in Sagaing town on May 21. “I am not sure if they were members of the People’s Defense Force,” a Sagaing resident told DVB. Regime police claimed to have seized ammunition, weapons, and vehicles from the five killed.

MON—Social relief groups reported that more than 30 people have died from heatstroke since the end of February. Twenty-five died in Thaton Township. Most victims were elderly with chronic medical conditions. “Most of the deceased experienced dizziness and collapsed while walking, primarily due to high temperatures, dehydration, and exhaustion,” a social relief group spokesperson in Thaton Township told DVB. 

YANGON—Over 300 homes and a large Buddha statue were demolished by the regime administration in Kyungyi village of Hlaingthaya Township. “Despite negotiations with the administration, they forcibly demolished the homes,” a resident told DVB. Regime troops and police razed the entire village. The displaced residents state that they are now living in tents. 

Read: The double betrayal of the Rohingya by Shafiur Rahman.

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Watch: What’s happening in Arakan State? DVB English News is on X, FB, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow our podcast on YouTube Music.


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