Junta forces arrest 31 Rohingya in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region

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A total of 31 Rohingya and five boatmen were arrested as they approached a beach in Nwei Nyo Chaung village in Pathein municipality of Ayeyarwady region, locals told RFA.

A resident, who declined to be named for security reasons, told RFA that 19 Rohingya men and 12 women were arrested by the junta on Sunday, along with a child under 18 and the boat’s crew.

“They came from Rakhine state,” the locals said. “They came by boat and the boat drivers were paid to carry them. Many people who enter the Ayeyarwady region are often arrested.”

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The resident said the Rohingya were sent to Pathein prison on Monday morning. He added that they may have been living in the town of Maungdaw in Rakhine state and leaving due to an increase in fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and military council forces in the area.

RFA has not been able to confirm where the Rohingya came from.

Located immediately south of Rakhine state, the Ayeyarwady region continues to attract Rohingya who are fleeing unemployment, hunger and discrimination, as well as fighting between junta forces and the AA.

On September 7 and 9, a total of 58 Rohingya were sentenced to two years in prison each in Bogale Municipal Court. They had been arrested on August 29 near the island of Ga Yat Gyi (Kat Tar) in the Pyapon Municipality of Ayeyarwady.

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On July 23 this year, 22 Rohingya men and 24 women were arrested by the junta’s navy, also near Shwe Thaung Yan Beach in Pathein Municipality.

The arrests are not limited to Ayeyarwady. According to locals, a total of 28 Rohingya were arrested on September 4 in Letpadan Municipality in western Bago. Bago is located on the eastern border of Rakhine State.

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From December 2021 to September 6, 2022, nearly 800 Rohingya were arrested in various parts of Myanmar who tried to leave Rakhine State by land or water, according to data collected by RFA based on statements from residents and local news media.

A military crackdown on the Rohingya, which began five years ago, has led more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

Of the more than 600,000 Rohingya residing in Myanmar, an estimated 125,000 are detained in camps in Rakhine state.