Army Midnight Raid and Random Search Residents in Ponnaygun, Rakhine State

Rakhine State Parliament Speaker U San Kyaw Hla met and supported wounded villager from Kyauk Seik in Sittway hospital 
Sittway. May 7, 2020
Residents in tragic Ponnaygun town met again by midnight raid and random search by the government soldiers last night. 

“A lot of soldiers are entering into the town and searching every house now,” A resident who does not want to publish his name reported. When our news reporter look at the time, it was midnight. 

He said, “About 60 men with semi civilian cloth from Light Infantry Battalion 550 are roaming in the town this afternoon and arrest Daw Ma Than, a female resident, and detained at the police station.” 

“The soldiers also arrested four men near the town yesterday when they were going out to nearby village by small motorboat. They were badly beaten and tortured in front of the public and taken to the military base of LIB 550. Since then no one has contact with them.” 

Two days ago, the army stopped score of motorboats and arrested several villagers including the female contractor of World Bank for community development project in Thar Zay village when they were traveling by motorboats. The arrested woman is Ma U Tin May, and no one knows where she is taken to. 

Thar Zay is about 5 miles away from Pnonnaygun. 

This is the third raid in the town after 8 civilians were killed and 14 wounded in Kyauk Seik by the shells of Myanmar army on April 14. The soldiers fired guns and artilleries and searched houses that damaged several houses and injured a Hindu boy on April 15. 

The same soldiers from LIB 550 pulled out five detainees, who had already been filed by prosecutors, from the police station and took to unknown location. They are still missing. Their families don’t have any contact with their love ones. 

The town was relatively calm before April tragedy in Kyauk Seik. Ponnaygun is also famous for U Yit Taung Pagoda situated on the top of the mountain. The city is located heartland of the Arakan nation and produced a number popular politicians, rock stars, and world class physicians. The Speaker of the state parliament U San Kyaw Hla is the town resident. 

But residents feel fear and helpless under the lawlessness and freehand brutal government security forces’ unwarranted shooting, searching, arresting, and torturing. The town residents are victimized under the men in military uniforms who are given impunity to commit war crimes in the name of “counter insurgency operation.” 

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