By Ye Kaung Nyunt
In a ward in Buthidaung General Hospital, a 25 year old Hindu woman lies in bed with a 50 year old woman and a 3 year old child sitting by her bedside. Her name is Ma Kaw Marlar.
Two nurses help Ma Kaw Marlar sit up to answer questions to some news reporters.
“I lost my family,” said Ma Kaw Marlar. “My husband, my child, my brother and his wife, six of them were killed. I managed to escape despite some injuries.”
She was speaking in Hindi but one of the nurses helped with translating her words.
Around 11 am on 26 August, Ma Kaw Marlar and ten Hindu family members were returning to Maungtaw city from Myinlut city when they walked into a terrorist attack near Myothugyi village. They hid themselves in an unfinished Maungtaw District court building in the village. However, there were ARSA members in the building who upon seeing Ma Kaw Malar and her family shot and killed two men, one woman and three children.
Ma Kaw Marlar and another woman and two children managed to escape but she received serious injuries.
“There were over 100 terrorists in that unfinished building and they shot at us when we went in,” said Ma Kaw Malar.
Ma Kaw Marlar gestured slowly with her injured right arm while telling the reporters that the terrorists were mostly dressed in black pants, shirts and masks while a few of them had normal attire on. “Some were armed with sticks and swords and some were armed with guns,” she said.
Ma Kaw Marlar witnessed her husband, child and relatives shot and slashed to death and herself shot. The terrorists left, thinking she was dead but Ma Kaw Malar and the three other survivors later hid themselves inside a barrel.
“I was shot on the left side of my chest,” said Ma Kaw Marlar. “They thought I was dead and left. Another women and two children were hiding in a barrel and I joined them. Now I, this child, and the other two are the only ones who survived,” said Ma Kaw Marlar as she gestured to the three-year old boy by her bedside.
Although she survived, Ma Kaw Marlar lost her family in the attack.
The doctor looking after Ma Kaw Marlar said that the bullet to her chest ripped off some of her left breast and they are transferring her to Sittway’s hospital for better treatment.
The unfinished two-storied court building stands silently as armed policeman are stationed nearby. A red Surf vehicle is parked in front of the building with all its windows smashed, littering glass onto the concrete road.
Dr. Kyaw Maung Maung Thein, a senior medical staff of Maungtaw General Hospital, was part of a group who carried the bodies of the Hindu family that were killed in the attack on 26 August.
“There were children among the six Hindu family members that were killed,” said Dr. Kyaw Maung Maung Thein. “It’s very sad. They were children around the ages of 5, 7 and 9 years. It’s very cruel,” he said.
Up till 25 August, Maungtaw city was full of people of diverse races and languages living peacefully. ARSA terrorists led a coordinated attack on 25 August and invaded 30 security posts and police outposts in Maungtaw, Buthidaung and Yathedaung townships and Taungbazar village, killing security personnel, an immigration officer and innocent civilians.
ARSA terrorists had disrupted the peace that was slowly building in Rakhine.
Counter-terrorism is a global concern for the United Nations, international organizations and international goevrnments and is equally important for everybody to oppose it.
Now is the time for us to collaborate to push back the terrorists not only in Rakhine State but in other states across the country as well.
Ma Kaw Marlar lays down on a bed in the outpatient ward. Her eyes are resting upon her three-year old son, her only family left.