You are on page 1of 18

INTERVIEWS by RICK HEIZMAN

THE OBFUSCATED PEOPLE of ARAKAN


THE MRO, THET, DIAGNET, AND KHAMI
TRIBAL ETHNIC MINORITIES

U Hla Maung - Thet ethnicity


from the Tamathar Group, Tet Kyine Nya Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in refugee camp, Sittwe, Sept 2017
(Thet 1)

My name is U Hla Maung. I am from the Thet


ethnicity.

One night (August 25, 2017) a huge mob of Bengalis


stormed into our village, setting our houses on fire.
We had to unexpectedly run for safety.
We ran to the security outpost in Tamathar Group and when we arrived there were
already people from 4 other villages, protected by the few security police. Then the
Bengalis came and surrounded all of us, shouting loudly that they were going to attack
the security outpost, and all of us in it.
They had their arms high in the air with their weapons displayed. So, we were so afraid
of being attacked, and some of us ran out the other side to Kyine Chaung Village.
I am old, and my legs are bad, but I just had to run in pain or be slaughtered. As we
were running from the Bengalis two Hindu villagers and one Diagnet villager were
caught and killed.

The Bengalis were burning and destroying all of our homes. The Bengalis were also
burning their own village homes.

If there is no security we can not go back to our villages. If the government can't
provide safety then I'll just die here, because otherwise I will be killed by Bengalis.

1
Tun Hla Aung - Thet ethnicity
from Chut Pyin Thet Village,
Rathedaung Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Zay Di Pyin, October 2018
(Zay Di Pyin 2)

I am Tun Hla Aung from Chut Pyin Thet Village. I am Thet


ethnicity.

Mainly, we depending on the mountain for our livelihood. One


day my son and two other young men went to the mountain
forest to collect snails. On the way back to the village my son became separated from the
other two and was missing. The other young men searched for him, for two days, but could
not find him. The next day we found some pieces of his clothes and his basket. Also we
found things that only Bengalis use - often at secret militant training camps deep in the
mountains. We took all those things with us, as evidence.

We determined that my son had encountered a Bengali Muslim militant training camp, and
they grabbed him and killed him. As we came down from the mountain we had to go near
Ah Htet Nan Yar - a large Bengali Muslim village. The Bengalis must have been watching us
search, and saw us carrying the evidence. Many Bengalis came out and tried to stop us and
confiscate the things we had found, but we got away from them.

We got back to our Thet village, but then many Bengalis came, with their swords, and
surrounded our village. The Bengalis are so crazy, that's why we are so afraid to go to the
mountains.

Sometimes the militants come down from the mountain near the Chin ethnicity village, and
the Chin people can see them. They see these militants coming and going.

The chief of our Thet village asked some Bengalis to come to our village and discuss what
had happened. The Chief of the Bengali village said "No, we are afraid to come to your
village." [yet they are the ones always engaging in violence] The Thet village chief said, "I will
give you security. I will phone the police and the police will come and help you."

The police arrived at the Bengali village and were met by many Bengalis who just wanted to
quarrel about anything. I heard there was a big problem in the Bengali village, and I was
afraid, so I went to Zay Di Pyin Village.

2
Ma Thein Nyunt - Thet ethnicity
from Chut Pyin Village,
Rathedaung Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Zay Di Pyin, October 2018
(Zay Di Pyin 4)

I am Ma Thein Nyunt, age 41, from Chut Pyin Village,


Rathedaung Township. I am Thet ethnic minority.

[Zay Di Pyin Village is roughly half Thet and half Rakhine].

In 2012 teacher Maung Chan Tha was brutally killed by his


young students.

[He was also a Thet ethnic minority - that is why she mentioned him].

We are very afraid to go to the mountain. Four miles from Maungdaw, 4 Thet people were
murdered by Bengalis. Since the 2012 violence and still up to now, we have been afraid to
go to the mountains to work in our vegetable plots, and to collect snails and things. We are
very afraid of the Bengalis and that is why was cannot do anything anymore.

Also in Chut Pyin there are very few families like ours [non-Muslim] so we feel very unsafe
there. We always worry about when, and where, and how the Bengalis will attack us again.

Question: how do you thing about your future and your livelihood?

Answer: We don't know what next year will be like - we can only hope it is better, but....

Question: What about if there is security?

Answer: If there are a lot of security forces around here we would feel safer, but if the
security is not strong enough then it is not safe for us

3
Maung Than Kyaw - Khami ethnicity
from Nga Phyo Chaung Village
Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Kyauk Sar Taing Village, October 2018
(Kyauk Sar Taing 4)

I am Maung Than Kyaw, from Nga Phyo Chaung Village [a


small Khami village nearby].

During the 2012 violence we were very threatened. Our


village has only 20 houses, and we are surrounded by 3 large
Bengali Muslim villages. At nighttime they would shine the
torchlights into our village, and yell threats to kill us all. We
Khami people all fled for our lives.

Also, after the Aug 25, 2017 attacks we fled, again. Again, they threatened us and
intimidated us, and we had to flee in great fear.

Before the attack, the Muslims surrounded the Gu Dar Pyin police outpost, and then
attacked it. When the army arrived the Bengalis attacked the army with homemade bombs.

At that time all of the non-Muslim villages fled. Now we have come back, but it is not safe.

If we want to go out of the village to do something - go to our vegetable plantations or go to


buy something - we are afraid to go out. If we go out to the forest the Bengali Muslims kill
our minority people - that is why we are so afraid to go out of our villages. Even though we
want to go harvest our vegetables growing in our mountain plantations we cannot go - we
are too afraid to go there.

Also, if we want to buy something from Buthidaung town our women cannot go there, only
men can go, and even they have to go in a group, and they still cannot be totally safe.

There is no security in my village, but sometimes security forces will patrol around the area.

4
Aung Ga Phyu - Khami ethnicity
from Gu Dar Pyin Khami Village,
Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Kyauk Sar Taing Village, October 2018
(Kyauk Sar Taing 3)
I am Aung Ga Phyu, the Chief of Gu Dar Pyin Khami Village
[It is in the village tract of Gu Dar Pyin, but is far from the
large Bengali Muslim village of Gu Dar Pyin. The village is
roughly half Khami ethnicity and half Rakhine. Aung Ga
Phyu is Khami]

This village was built in 1991. In 2002, some of our women


were raped by Bengalis. Also, in 2011 there was a problem
where the Bengalis were intimidating our women by
showing them their genitals.

During the last attack [Aug 25, 2017] we thought all of us would be killed by the Bengalis,
because we are a very small minority living around here. We have no escape, one side is
mountains, and other sides are many large Bengali villages.

For me it is also very difficult, concerning the administration of the villages. In the Bengali
mind there is a lot of crookedness. We Khami people are very simple and open. It is very
difficult to know what the Bengalis are thinking and plotting.

Question from Rick Heizman: If anyone from the village went to this mountain here to get
some firewood or something, how do they feel about their safety?

Answer: We always worry. And, we cannot attend to our chili peppers and potatoes because
they are too far away. On the mountains there is no security. So, we never know if some
Muslims are hiding in the jungle with their knives, waiting to ambush us.

Rick asks: How do they feel right now about safety?

Answer: When I see security forces around here I feel relaxed and safe, but without security
forces around we live in such fear.

Rick asks: Last year, August 25, did they wake up to the gunfire, hearing gunfire?

Answer: I heard shooting from over there, at the Gu Dar Pyin police outpost, in the early
morning.

Rick asks: Was this village invaded? Did they burn any houses?

Answer: No.

5
Zaw Tun - Khami ethnicity
from Kyauk Sar Taing Village,
Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Kyauk Sar Taing Village, October 2018
(Kyauk Sar Taing 6)

I am Zaw Tun - Khami ethnicity. I came to this village -


Kyauk Sar Taing - in 1991, and have been living here since
then.

I would like to tell you about how people here live. Nearly
all of us nationalities [Rakhine, Khami, Thet, Mro, Daignet]
depend on the mountains for our livelihood. At the moment we cannot do anything - growing
vegetables on our mountain plots, collecting snails and other things to sell. It is not safe
anymore for us to go into the mountains.

If I want to go to another village [Rakhine or ethnic minority] I have to pass though many
large Muslim villages. There is no security force to protect us. If I want to buy something or
visit one of those friendly villages I have to check the situation first. I have to check if there is
any bad 'news' about it, and I have to leave very very early in the morning.

Before the attacks in 2012, some of our ethnic minority women were attacked, raped, and
killed here. In the village we have security, but when we go out of the village, to the
mountains, or the market, or other villages there is no security - it is dangerous.

When we go to the forest, to work in our vegetable plantations we don't know where the
Bengali terrorists are hiding, and when they are going to come out and kill one of us.

Even near my village some Bengalis might be farming in the rice field, but we have to check,
from a long distance, if they have guns or swords or other weapons. If they don't appear to
have weapons we can pass through, but still, fearfully.

Also, I want to tell you that in the village now, if there is no security, it is very difficult for us.

6
Phru Maung - Diagnet ethnicity
from Wai Lar Taung Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in Maungdaw town, October 2018
(Diagnet 2)

[Around October 8, 2018, the 14 year old son of this


couple was murdered by Bengali Muslims, in far
northern Maungdaw Township. The parents, and the
body of their son were driven down to the town of
Maungdaw - an 8 hour drive on rutted and muddy dirt
roads, at night. I and my team were nearby when we heard about it, and came to see them.
They are members of the Diagnet ethnic people, and speak their own Diagnet language. One
of their fellow villagers translates from Diagnet to Arakanese language, speaking as if he is
the father. These tribal minorities are especially targeted by the Bengali Muslims, and they
have no way to defend themselves.]

I am Phru Maung, and my son is Hla Mying Aung, 14 years old. We live in Wai Lar Taung
village.

My son is a student at school - grade 6. He needed to buy some school books. He went by
motorbike to Kha Maung Seik in the morning to get the school books. As he was returning
home he was brutally killed.

My wife and I were waiting all day for him, then it was 5 PM, 6 PM, but he didn’t show up.
We informed the Border Police, and we all began searching for him. At 6:30 PM his dead
body was found. Last year, in 2017, my nephew was similarly killed by Bengali Muslims.

We don’t know where to live now, where to move to, it is not safe for us. We have no
security, security is very weak. My son was killed because security is not adequate enough
to protect us from Bengali Muslims.

Bengali people from Bangladesh come across the border nearby, illegally, and they may be
hiding or walking through the mountains, we don’t know where they are hiding, but we live in
the mountains, and everyday we have to walk and work in the mountains, we have to work
or else what can we do?

Mother: It will never end. There are many things in my heart that I want to say, but I lost my
heart. So, these attacks and murders by Bengali Muslims will happen again and again.

I am so worried about our other children. Now it is not safe living in our village. We have
abandon our village, and move to a safe place.

We have to face the reality of this kind of violence. It is not safe for us to live in our village
anymore.

7
Sein Nu - Diagnet ethnicity
from Taung Pyo Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
interviewed in refugee camp in Sittwe, Sept 2017

(Diagnet 1)

I am Sein Nu, and I am from Taung Pyo Village. I am


Diagnet ethnicity.

One night we started to hear the terrible news about


Bengalis attacking security outposts and villages,
burning them and killing people. And, we heard that the
Bengalis were kidnapping the pretty unmarried girls
among the Hindus, Buddhists, and tribal people. All of this was frightening.

So our village fled quickly, there were no security forces around and we were terrified. Two
people – 1 Mro, and one Burmese were caught and killed as we fled. We had to walk so far,
but finally there was a bus that we could use to get to safety in Buthidaung. And then we
managed to get to Sittwe.

Now I am so sickened by this situation made by the Bengalis and so scared. I don't want to
go out anywhere. I don't know anything about my village, and all the villagers, or whether our
homes are burned or not.

This is the third time I have had to escape from these crazy violent Bengalis. I don't want
them near me.

Maung Kyaw Thein - Mro ethnicity


from That Kaing Nyar Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in refugee camp near That Kaing Nyar,
January 2018
(Mro 1)
I am Maung Kyaw Thein, from That Kaing Nyar Village.

In my village a teacher was killed by Bengali Muslims. I am


afraid to go back to my village, which is deep in the
mountain forest, so now I just stay here, near the road.

This land belongs to the monastery, and we can stay here no problem. Now our villagers live
here temporarily, we don't know what to do. We moved here just 3 months ago, after the
Bengali Muslims attacked our village.

We don't want to go back to our original village - it is too risky to live there, because of the
Bengali Muslims. We can never ever go back there.

8
U Maung Nyunt, Mro ethnicity
from Khine Gyi Mro Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State
interviewed in refugee camp near
Maungdaw town, September 2017

(Khine Gyi 1,2)

I am going to tell you openly about our


village and the situation. The killings did
not happen inside our village. Bengali
terrorists came to our farming fields and
killed our people, for no reason at all.
Farmers from our village went to the distant fields to work. Three of the young men were
sharpening their hoes. And then, Bengali came and shot them with guns.

We heard the gunfire from our village. At first we thought that the army troops and Bengali
terrorists were fighting somewhere up in the hills. When we heard more gunfire, we decided
to check on our people who had gone to the distant fields. Then we found the dead bodies
of our people there. We informed the army about this, and when soldiers arrived we
continued searching.

We found 5 bodies at first and 3 were missing. The next day, we continued searching for the
missing bodies, but we did not find them. And then, the following day as we continued
searching we found more bodies.

But, we could not find my sister, who was one of the missing people. However, we found her
clothes. We also heard that army troops and Bengali terrorists were fighting in Chin Khar Lee
Village. We were afraid to stay in our village.

We realized that we cannot protect ourselves with stick and swords from the Bengalis
because they even have automatic guns now. We have lost 8 of us, no more! We decided to
leave our village. We have lost everything. No food, no clothes and no money.

Question: Did they burn your houses or destroy them?

Answer: They weren't burned, but some were broken and destroyed.

We have lost our cows when we had to flee. We have lost our farm work and paddy fields
also, each of our villagers had 2 or 3 acres. We Mro people used to make a living by farming
and working the paddy fields. We are afraid to go back to our village if we have only
policeman for security.

Once our village had ten policemen, but they they got drunk every night. That is one of the
reasons that we were so frightened and had to leave the village.

We have lost 8 villagers, one of them was nearly 8 months pregnant. So, actually nine people
were killed.

9
(U Maung Nyunt will translate from Mro
language to Arakanese for the young lady
and her grandmother)

This young lady has 7 family members. When


her mother had gone to work in the field, on
August 25, around 7:30 AM, she heard gunfire.
What she heard was the gunfire from the
Bengalis that killed her mother.

She has a 1 year old child, but has lost everything, including her own mother. Her grandma
said they are very poor. And, her granddaughter has no mother now. Grandma has leg
problems and cannot hardly do any work for their livelihood. The young lady's family had 8
family members, 5 brothers and sisters, her mother who was killed, and father and grandma.

Question: So her mother was killed. Where is her father?

Answer: Her father is in Buthidaung.

Our village had 48 households, some families fled to Buthidaung. We are here because we
can't afford the transportation cost. This young lady is my daughter-in-law. Her husband is
my son.

U San Tun - Mro ethnicity


from Khine Gyi Mro Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
interviewed near Khine Gyi, October 2018
(Khine Gyi 3)

I am U San Tun - headman in Khine Gyi Mro Village. I used to


live in the remote mountains in northern Maungdaw Township,
then I moved to southern Maungdaw in 2013. We moved
because there was more education facilities for our children,
and medical care, and maybe better business. So, my family
and other Mro families cooperated together and made plans. There were 5 families from one
Mro village, and 3 from another and 2 families from another. We first moved to Khine Gyi
Chaung Village in southern Maungdaw in 2013. I applied to the authorities to build a new
village in the mountains but nothing happened, and then we moved to Khine Gyi Mro village.
For our livelihood we farm the vegetable crops on the mountain slopes, and raise pigs and
chickens and goats.

10
On August 3, 2017, 8 of our Mro villagers - 3 men and 5 women - went to the mountain plots
to clear some area to farm. Muslims killed them all. Some were shot and some were hacked
death. One women was 8 months pregnant, so maybe there were 9 people killed.

On Aug 25, 2017, the Muslims launched attacks against 30 police posts in Maungdaw and
Buthidaung. After learning about those attacks we were very frightened to live in our village
deep in the mountains. So, we fled, in 3 trucks, to Buthidaung. We had to abandon our
village and lost many things - our vegetable fields, pigs, chickens, goats, and cows.

In Buthidaung we stayed in the Ataka High School / refugee camp for 2 weeks. And then we
stayed in Alodawpyae Monastery for 2 months. Then we moved from Alodawpyae
Monastery back to our area, to the Rakhine Khine Gyi Village School.

While we were staying there some township authorities and government officials came and
asked us if we would like to move back to our Khine Gyi Mro village in the mountains. We
said, ”No, we can't move back there, it is too dangerous, even though we were there for
many generations we cannot go back.” The officials asked us, "Where would you like to
live?” We answered, "If we don't have a safe place to live we need to stay next to the road,
with cooking pots and plastic roofs.” So, the government built a temporary camp here, with
120 houses, for 3 affected villages. The donors that helped us included the Minister of Bago
and the Minister of Yangon.

Now we are afraid to go to the forest alone - even if we are hungry - but sometimes we go in
groups, looking for frogs, fish, and mushrooms. Now it is not safe. But, out of the mountains,
here on the road, we are safe - but we are not safe in the mountains.

In Buthidaung Township there is a village - Kyauk Sar Taing Village - it is an ethnic


nationality village [half Khami ethnicity and half Rakhine, and I, Rick Heizman, have also been
to and interviewed village people suffering the same abuses from the Bengali Muslims].
There is a mountain path to get there, [Khine Gyi Village is on the western slopes of the Mayu
Mountains and Kyauk Sar Taing Village is on the eastern slopes] but in the middle is ARSA.

Deep in the mountains between those two villages the army discovered ARSA training
bases, with weapons, bombs, and tunnels, and destroyed them. I don't know how many
weapons were found, or how many terrorists were killed. Shortly after the army discovered
and destroyed that base, ARSA killed our 8 villagers. It may have been the Muslims
retaliation, and their plans. Our Khine Gyi Mro Village was deep in the mountains, and
apparently too close to the ARSA training base, and the militants knew that we might
discover or hear them. So, they wanted to drive us out of the mountains, and they knew that
if they kill a bunch of us then we we will be so frightened that we will abandon our village.

Because of our Mro village the militants could not carry supplies of food to their training
camp, because if seen, it would be odd, and obvious. That's why they killed those 8 villagers
- to drive us away.

Before, we had no problem with the Bengali Muslims. They made problems and violence
against Rakhine, but not against Mro. But now, we Mro are the number one target of the
Muslims.

11
In Khine Gyi Mro Village 8 of us were killed, and also in Kaung Dine Village, in northern
Maungdaw Township, many Mro were also killed and the whole village was burned.

Also, my son, and my brother were killed by the Muslims. I am very sad, and I don't sleep
well, and I'm always thinking - “what can we do?”

I think the reason why they targeted us Mro people so much is that we helped guide the
army through the mountains to the hidden terrorist training camps, and that is why they
targeted us.

Question: Would you like to go back to your village to live - if there is security?

Answer: No, security can only protect us in the village. Security cannot protect us when we
go to the vegetable plots, and when we go to collect frogs and snails, and when we go
fishing.

Moe Hlaing Than - Mro ethnicity


from Khine Gyi Mro Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
interviewed near Khine Gyi, October 2018
(Khine Gyi 4)

I am Moe Hlaing Than. Now that we are here, along the road,
compared to before it is much safer for us. Absolutely we do not
want to go back to our Mro village, it is too dangerous because
of Bengalis. We want to live here.

Why do we not want to go back there to our village? Because even still it is too dangerous
for us.

Question: If everything was totally safe, with no problems, would you then go back?

Answer: Actually we would like to go back to our mountain village, and be happy like we
were before, but we all greatly fear being murdered by Bengalis.

12
Kaung Hla Nyo - Mro ethnicity
from Khine Gyi Mro Village, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Interviewed in refugee camp, Rakhine State, 2012
(2012 Old Man 4)
Many years ago I saw what the Bengali Muslims can do. A
family in Thay Chaung Village was killed by the Bengali
Muslims, even the children were slaughtered.

The children’s heads were cut off, and even their genitals were
cut off, and the same with the father. The mother, who was
pregnant, was savagely killed, and the Bengalis even cut her
nipples off. The took those genitals and nipples with them - they are so barbaric and cruel.

They will show those things to their villagers, and to their Mawlawis [Imams]. This kind of
thing is like a game to them, their villagers will admire the killers for doing that. And the
Mawlawis, from their mosques, may give those killers ‘prize’ money for being so ‘brave’, and
for doing what Allah instructs.

We are Buddhists. We cannot understand these Muslims, and their thinking at all. It is so
cruel. The family was from Thay Chaung Village.

[Now, interviewer Ma Hla Wai, born and raised in Maungdaw, tells her 1942 story]
My grandfather was very compassionate with Bengali Muslims, and employed them, and
gave them land. He more or less adopted one young Bengali Muslim young man, treating
him as a son. My grandfather love him, and told him, “When you marry you can live here and
build a house on this land.”

In 1942, tensions were rising, and then after the British retreated from the approaching
Japanese, the region was left without any authority. The Bengali Muslims who were trained
and armed by the British to fight the Japanese did not fight the Japanese, but turned their
weaponry upon the Buddhists. My grandfather’s land, was in the countryside, not in the large
town of Maungdaw, and he trusted his adopted Bengali son completely, to protect his family.

One day my grandfather was out, and when he came home he was horrified beyond belief
upon seeing the slashed and hacked dead bodies of his wife, parents, siblings, and some of
his children. He yelled for his adopted son - but the son was nowhere to be found.

Three of his young children came out of hiding and told their father what happened -
suddenly the Bengali son attacked and hacked nearly everyone to death - they saw it with
their own eyes. The son chased and tried to kill those 3 young kids, but they were fast and
able to hide in small places.

My grandfather’s sister also survived. He almost caught and killed her - he was chasing her
and slashed her hips and legs with a long sword, but she was lucky to get away.

My grandfather picked up a sword and went out to find his adopted Bengali son - but he
never returned - he was never heard from again. He was certainly killed by the people he had
assisted so many times.

[Even up until this present time, Bengali Muslims are working the land that is still registered in
the names of those Rakhine people that they killed]

13
Kaung Hla Nyo - Mro ethnicity
from Khine Gyi Mro Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
interviewed in refugee camp, Rakhine State, summer 2012
(2012 Old man 1)

The situation was getting bad [in June, 2012]. One day we
could hear the Bengali Muslims yelling loudly as they were
approaching our village to attack and kill us. So, I let the pigs
loose. I cut the ropes holding them. I knew that it would give
us a few extra minutes as we ran for our lives.

If there were 100 Bengali attackers, there were 5000 that


would come through the village and loot everything.

The day before the attack, around 5 pm, my son returned home. He was not feeling so well,
and had diarrhea. And, my daughter in law, living with us, had newborn twins.

The Bengalis attacked in the early morning darkness, and all of us had to flee or hide so
quickly we were all immediately separated. My son had stepped out to relieve himself - I
couldn’t find him quick enough, and my daughter in law with her baby twins ran one way and
I went another way. But releasing the pigs probably save some us us from being caught. I
ran out of the village and hid in a latrine. and hid - still in the village. Luckily, our family
survived.

When it became light in the early morning I got out of the village and encountered 2 of our
Mro women who had also hid nearby. We thought more of our village people would be found
hiding in the forest, so we started walking towards the forest. First we found one woman with
her two children in the forest. The only thing they had was one extra longyi, which the 2
children needed at night because they were cold. Then as we continued walking in the forest
and up the mountain we found 4 more villagers. Everyone had become separated as they
escaped. Parents were trying to find a daughter, kids were looking for parents.

All of us were still very afraid to go back to our village, so we had to stay in the forest up the
mountain. There were 9 of us villagers together by then, and we decided to have 3 people go
down to see if Bengalis were in our village or not, and if it seemed safe enough to return to
the village. They saw that there were many Bengali Muslims in and around the village, so
they returned to us on the mountain, and told them what they saw.

We went to the mountain above Maw Ra Waddy Village, where we have vegetable
plantations high on the mountain. We thought that we would find more of our villagers there.
And, we desperately needed food. But, when we arrived there we found none of our fellow
villagers, however, at least there was some rice and cooking pots.

Then, one more man from their village came. The next day we came down from the
mountain, but not to our village. We were hoping to see security forces. 4 people were sent
to check the situation at our village. They checked and returned and said that they saw no
Bengalis there.

14
But, as they crossed the small river they saw some Bengalis who ran away when they saw
the Mro villagers. They went to the Zaw Madat Police Outpost nearby. They asked the police
if it was safe or not to return to Khine Gyi Village. And, they told the police that there were
still some villagers on the mountain where they had left them and can the police help get
them down. The police outpost telephoned the larger station and 5 policemen came to help
bring the rest of us down off the mountain.

By then there were 13 of us Khine Gyi villagers. We all had to stay in the police outpost for 20
days. The police outpost was very full with about 500 refugees from Alay Than Kyaw and
other villages taking shelter there.

At the time of the sudden attack, a 93 year old woman could not walk, had to be left there,
as her family members had to run in terror. The only thing they could do was to give her
some money - if she was killed it would help her in the next life, or she might be able to use
the money to ‘buy’ her freedom. Fortunately the next morning security forces arrived and
found her still alive, and brought her to Alay Than Kyaw.

A long time ago, when I was young, there was a young woman who was kidnapped and
forced to convert to Islam and to marry a Muslim. She was from Tha Ray Kone Baung
Village, and she was kidnapped by the Bengali Muslims from Tike Tok Pyin Village. The
Muslims had slaughtered her husband and her young son, and because she was young and
beautiful they didn’t kill her. They took her back to Tike Tok Pyin Village and forced her to
convert to Islam, marry a Muslim man, and renounce all things about her Rakhine Buddhist
identity.

I met her around 60 years after she was abducted. She was then an old woman. Her family
members and relatives wanted her to come back and live with them in their Rakhine village.
Even her Muslim husband did not want her anymore, and told her to go back to where she
came from. But, she said that she was Muslim for so long, and could not even remember
much of the Arakanese language, and being so old, she said she should just stay in the
Muslim village and die. She was about 80 years old when I met her, and shortly after that she
died. She had many children - as the Muslims do, but they are all Muslim, of course.

There were so many villages that originally were Rakhine Buddhist villages, but the Muslims
came in large numbers and attacked and killed our people so many times. They killed our
people and took our land and villages.

When I was young here, and nearly all villages were Rakhine, we Buddhists had festivals and
celebrations every month. These 3 villages would have a Buddhist festival and invite all the
people, and then the next week those 3 villages would have a festival, and then the next
week another 3 villages….

At Thingyan (Burmese New Year) time (also known as Water Festival) we celebrated it the
traditional way - by going to the temple and washing the Buddha statues. These days people
in the cities just throw water on everyone - things are different now. And we used real silver
bowls for offerings, and our traditional lacquerware. And we wore our beautiful traditional
clothes during those festival times, and gold jewelry. The women looked very beautiful with
the traditional hair styles.

15
Name unknown - Mro ethnicity
from Khine Gri (Khine Gyi) Village,
Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, Myanmar
interviewed in refugee camp, Rakhine State,
summer 2012
(2012 Old man 2)

In the days before WW2, my grandfather built a zedi


(Buddhist stupa/pagoda) in Tha Ray Kone Baung Village.
My grandfather is U Maung Phru, and my grandmother is
Daw Gro Nyo. My mother is Pan Sein Oo, and my father
is U Htwe Phyu. I am the 3rd of 6 siblings. We are from
Khine Gri Village. Our family, like most families there, lived
as farmers.

I did not go to a school to learn, we did not have a school then. I was educated in the
monastery.

[Khine Gri Village is in the western lower parts of the Mayu Mountains, about 15 miles south
of Maungdaw town. He and most of the villagers are Mro ethnic minority people. Tha Ray
Kone Baung is the larger village in the flat land , near Khine Gri]

Starting in 1942, as the chaos of the war came closer and closer to us, Bengali Muslims
destroyed the pagoda 3 times. Each time my grandparents rebuilt it.

During those WW2 years of 1942 - 1944, the Bengali Muslims killed or drove out all of the
Buddhists, and destroyed every pagoda that they could throughout the land.

One time after it was destroyed completely, local people said that they sometimes saw
strangely colored light emanating from the site at night. Strangers, who did not even know
that there used to be a zedi there saw the colored light and remarked about it.

Two times, in my lifetime, I have experienced being face to face and having to fight for my life
with Bengali Muslims trying to kill me.

Around that time [1942] Khine Gri Village had about 80-90 houses. Khine Gri also had an old
zedi, and it was also destroyed by the Muslims.

My grandfather was the Village Chief, and also was the administrator for southern
Maungdaw Township. My grandfather administered the area from Maungdaw Town down to
Inn Din Village. The few Bengali villages, at that time, used to be far away, but then they
increased rapidly, and became closer and more menacing.

We started to hear that the Bengalis had begun to attack and kill Buddhists all around
Maungdaw and we quickly fled, before we were trapped. My grandparents were killed by the
Muslims in Wabeik Village. from our village.

16
We fled all the way to the Lemro River, walking many days, and crossing 3 mountain ranges.
We had to cross many rivers, and we survived by eating banana trees, and other jungle food.

On the way, as we were fleeing, sometimes we would see Bengalis, and they would try to kill
us - even though we were leaving our land. We would have to run for our lives, and they
would be chasing us with swords, and sometimes guns and bombs. People who could not
run fast enough sometimes were knocked down and hacked to death. Men and boys had to
protect our women. Sometimes monks had their robes grabbed and pulled off, and the
monks had to run naked. My family members all survived, but many families lost members
as we continued to the Lemro River.

When we finally crossed the last mountains and reached the Lemro River there were many
Rakhine villages, and they warmly shared their food and shelter with us. We lived there for 13
years, before returning to our homeland.

I got married when we reached the Lemro River. I was 25 years old. My wife was one of our
villagers fleeing with us. She was from Gran Chaung Village. I have been married 3 times.
My first wife had a child, but the baby died, and then she died. My 2nd wife was from Kyein
Chaung Village. She also had a child, but both died. And then I married again. My 3rd wife
was from Taung Bro Village.

—————————————————————————-

INTERVIEW CATEGORIES

• Southern Maungdaw Township

• Northern Maungdaw Township

• Maungdaw Town and Area

• Southern Buthidaung Township

• Northern Buthidaung Township

• Rathedaung Township

• Hindu victims

• Ethnic Minority victims: Mro, Thet, Diagnet, Khami

• Others: Yangon, Sittwe, Mrauk-U

• 1942 Massacre against Buddhists, and 1950s Mujahid troubles

17
A DATABASE IS COMING: Enabling you to find all interviews with these types of parameters:

• Rescued / saved by Army

• Used to get along / employ / work with Bengali Muslims

• Bengalis would not buy, sell, or interact in any way with non-Muslims

• ARSA or RSO terrorist group info

• Terrorist training camps found

• Eyewitnesses to Bengali Muslims burning their own homes and villages

• Interviews by: Hindus, Muslims, Khami, Thet, Diagnet, Mro

• Talk about 1942 Massacre times, or 1950s Mujahid campaign

ALL INTERVIEWS ARE ON VIDEO AT:

https://arakan-reality.smugmug.com/ARAKAN-the-CONFLICT-VIDEOS/Interviews-October-2018/

and:

https://arakan-reality.smugmug.com/ARAKAN-the-CONFLICT-VIDEOS/INTERVIEWS/

and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXpfh5XdTXbt6mNgNzGjZ7A

Produced by Rick Heizman June 18, 2019 Facebook: Arakan Eagle 7

Photos and Videos of Arakan at: arakan-reality.smugmug.com - go to Conflict videos

Photos and Videos of all of Myanmar at: rickheizman.smugmug.com

Papers at scribd.com/rheizman

Email: rickmusic4@gmail.com burmafriend88@gmail.com

The BEST and most ACCURATE FILM about the CONFLICT in RAKHINE STATE, MYANMAR:
ARAKAN - ANCIENT BUDDHIST KINGDOM, ENDANGERED BY JIHAD - in 4 parts:

https://arakan-reality.smugmug.com/ARAKAN-the-CONFLICT-VIDEOS/MY-EXCELLENT-MOVIE/

18

Related Interests