SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS from Cox’s Bazar
Publication Date: 24 September, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Media: The Independent
Original Link: Myanmar troops ‘use rape as tool’ to persecute Rohingyas
E-paper Link: Myanmar troops ‘use rape as tool’ to persecute Rohingyas\
The Myanmarese military has carried out mass rapes along with locals to persecute the ethnic Rohingya Muslim community, alleged Rohingya refugees who have taken shelter in Bangladesh. A large portion of Rohingya women aged between 13 and 45, who managed to escape Myanmar, comprises rape victims. The rape victims are now living in uncertainty and trauma as many of them are yet to receive any doctor’s advice. The Independent interviewed 38 people who have fled to Bangladesh. Among them were 18 males and 18 females. This correspondent found 10 female rape victims, who have been treated at a hospital in Ukhia. Many of the rape victims have been treated at the local Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Hospital, ACF Hospital and other local hospitals.
Sources at the MSF and ACF Hospitals expressed much concern over the massive influx of rape victims into hospitals here following the current instability in Myanmar’s Arakan state.
Sources at the hospitals said under condition of anonymity that a large number of rape victims is being treated at their hospitals. Not just rape victims, many traumatised patients and those with bullet injures were undergoing treatment at the hospitals. Many could not speak because of their harrowing experiences, said the hospital sources.
Local doctors, too, said they have treated many rape victims. This correspondent talked to a few such rape victims who have taken shelter in unregistered Rohingya refugee camps at Ukhia. The victims alleged that the soldiers did not feel any hesitation or compunction in raping women in front of male family members. On November 23
a couple took shelter to Ukhia’s the unregistered Kutubpalong Rohingya refugee camp in Block A-1 with five family members. It is known to all people in nearby areas that four of the five members — mother and three daughters were sexually assaulted by troops.
Soldiers raped the three sisters, their father said while narrating these incidents in the presence of his family members, including the victims.
While he was talking to this correspondent, two of the rape victims, including the mother, described the torture that had been meted out to them. The man said, “The military snatched all our valuables, including ornaments and money, and raped my daughters ….”
One of the rape victims said, “They snatched us and raped all of us.” Her husband was sitting next to her. “They took away all women members of our family and tortured us,” she said adding, “The troops tortured us in such a manner that we had to perforce leave the country just to save the lives of other members of our family.”
Another victim, also from Hudaying, said, “They raped me in front of my parents. I have been treated for it. They took away my parents and they are still missing.”
The victims at the unregistered refugee camp in Ukhia yesterday alleged that they have been raped by troops. They have undergone treatment at MSF Hospital here.
A 50-year-old woman said that the soldiers did not rape the women above 40 and those who are not pretty. However, they tortured such women physically and harassed them sexually, she added. Mohammad Aiyaz from Khiyari Parang told The Independent, “Around 15 women of our village were killed after being raped. Two of my sisters were taken away by the military, and they have not returned.”
Thirty-year-old Nabi Hossain, from Poyakhali in Myanmar, said: “The military took away two of my sisters. One of my sisters is about 25 years old and the other 35. They dumped their bodies in a paddy field after a couple of days. They died as they had been indiscriminately raped,” alleged Nabi Hossain.