Thinbawkway villagers, that were forced to relocate, are temporarily sheltering at Kyaukpantu village’s monastery and had refused to accept government’s aid, according to locals.
“The authorities told us to move out from our homes. They carried our belongings to the trucks. We didn’t take any of our belongings. They took all things to Indin village. They told us to stay at Indin village but we don’t want to stay there. We also left all our animals behind. Some villagers are ill as they have no umbrella. Kyaukpantu villagers fed us yesterday night. Myint Khaing, Maungdaw Township administrator and officials visited us today. They left a bundle containing rice, edible oil and clothes at the monastery. We won’t accept things they gave us. They took our belongings and destroyed our homes. The township administrator said if we don’t accept their offer, we cannot stay there. The authorities are still demolishing the remaining houses in our village today,” said Cho Cho Aye from Thinbawkway village.
They said although they refused to accept aid from the authorities, they will accept aid from donors as they no longer knew how to make a living in this situation.
“Our village was destroyed and we were not allowed to take our belongings. We are still wearing soeaking wet clothes we wore last night. There are too many people living in the monastery. Donors from Maungdaw came to provide food for us. The authorities detained two of our leaders. It is important to us that they’d be freed. We are facing many difficulties as there are many infants and pregnant women among us,” said Kyaw Win.
The administrator and his followers met the villagers and provided food and collected list of them.
At present, more than 100 villagers are staying at Indin village and CSOs from Maungdaw provided rice and other provisions.
“A pregnant woman and a sick villager were sent to Sittwe Hospital. They have no household utensils and clothes. They said their belongings are moved to Indin village by the authorities. We donated rice, edible oil, salt, bean, eggs, mats and clothes,” said Sein Hla Phyu from Maungdaw emergency providing committee.
The township administrator said the Thinbawkway villagers need to move to Indin village and the authorities had readied their relocation. If they want to continue staying in Thinbawkway village, they can only return so when the authorities permit rebuilding the village.
Rakhine State Chief Minister said the state government will make sure to provide for the villagers but they cannot continue staying there, said Maungdaw District Administrator Ye Htut.
Thinbawkway village was built by Rakhine ethnics, hailing from six townships including Thandwe and Yathedaung, in December 2017 and is home to around 200 people.
The Chairman of township administrative committee issued an order on March 20 by the instruction of the state government, to relocate villagers illegally staying at Thinbawkway village.
The authorities filed a lawsuit against Tun Myint Oo, Ohnmar Kyaw and Aung Naing, the founders of Thinbawkway village, under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code.
Two of the detainees, Tun Myint Oo and Ohnmar Kyaw, are remanded in custody at Manugdaw township court and sent to Buthidaung prison on July 10. Their first trial will begin on July 16.