Rakhine village facing food shortages

07 May 2019
Rakhine village facing food shortages
Photo: AA

Villagers in Rakhine state said Monday they are facing food shortages after being hemmed in for nearly a week by the military, which killed six people and continues to detain scores more in a crackdown against suspected rebels.

Thousands of troops have been redeployed to Rakhine state against the Arakan Army (AA).

The AA are fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in a conflict that has forced more than 30,000 people from their homes since December.

Last Tuesday security forces moved on Kyauk Tan village in Rathedaung township, separating out 275 men for interrogation in the local school.

Troops admitted killing six detainees two days later and injuring eight more, claiming the men tried to attack and disarm them.

The village has been completely sealed off since the raid and several residents told AFP by phone Monday food supplies were dangerously low.

Those without any land are "really struggling", one woman told AFP by phone, asking not to be named, adding villagers were pooling their meagre supplies.

Rakhine state lawmaker Tin Maung Win told AFP he was "very worried" about the villagers' plight. 
He planned to visit the village Tuesday but was unsure security forces would allow him to enter after they turned him away last week.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun denied people were unable to leave.

"People can move around freely," he said, adding it was possible others could not enter.

Zaw Min Tun confirmed 48 more detainees were released Monday, which would leave around 80 still held at the school.