The Myanmar military and the BGP conducted sporadic attacks on ‘Wapeik’ hamlet of the village of ‘Kyikanpyin’ in northern Maungdaw and burnt down the locals’ homes in October 2016, while ‘Middle hamlet’ (of Kyikanpyin) was entirely removed with the order of the BGP Commander ‘Brigadier General Thura San Lwin’ on October 23, 2016, displacing several hundreds of local people in the village.
At around 2:30 PM on February 17, ‘Brigadier General Thura San Lwin’ summoned the displaced people from these two hamlets for a meeting and told them they could return to their original places.
“The BGP Commander ‘Thura San Lwin’ said that they had to burn down homes in the Wapeik hamlet and expel people from the Middle hamlet because the terrorists were hiding in there and we could now return to our original places. According to him, the villagers of Wapeik can rebuild their houses, but the villagers of the middle hamlet can only repair their houses as they were not burnt down but damaged by the Natalas, illegal Rakhine settlers.
Besides, some displaced families of Wapeik whose houses were near to the BGP headquarter won’t be able return to their original lands but will be relocated somewhere else. He also threatened the people attending the meeting that the whole Kyikanpyin will be wiped out from the map if incidents like October 9, 2016 attacks happen again”, said a local, who attended the meeting on the condition of anonymity.
“However, we are still skeptic. We don’t know if we are permanently allowed to return to our original places or it was just an attempt to create news headlines on it and reduce international pressures,” he added.
During the meeting, the BGP Commander also accused three ordinary villagers of Kyikanpyin as people linked with insurgents in the region. Locals have confirmed them to be just simple and innocent people targeted and blacklisted by the BGP because they met with the UN-led Diplomats on November 2 and other UN representatives. They are:
- Salimullah (s/o) Abdu Gaffar, a shopkeeper from the middle hamlet
- Shafiur Rahman, a volunteer school teacher from Wapeik
- Haarsoo, a fishery pond owner from Wapeik
Although the BGP Commander allowed the displaced people of Wapeik to return their home lands, the village administrator of Kyikanpyin, U Zaw Phyo Tun (a Rakhine), stopped the people on the way to the northern part of Wapeik, which is the main section of the village, mentioning that the village section is near to ‘Aung Zay Zayar’ village, an illegal Natala Rakhine settlement.
At around 6:45 PM yesterday (on Feb 17), the house of Hussain (son of) Abdu Karim at the Middle Hamlet was set on fire. When the neighboring Rohingya villagers rushed to the place to extinguish the fire, they saw a group of Natala Rakhine extremists including the one identified as U Tun Kyi (27), s/o U Thein Maung fleeing from the scene on motorcycles. Earlier, at around 6:00 PM, a Rohingya from the Kyikanpyin village also witnessed the group of Rakhine extremists sitting by the road before the house set ablaze later.