Information committee refutes rumours of rapes
The Information Committee of the State Counsellor’s Office issued a press release concerning the rumours that some women were raped during the area clearance operations of security forces following the violent attacks in Maungtaw Township.
According to the press release, No. 1 Border Guard Police Command Centre (Kyikanpyin), Koetankauk Police Outpost and Ngakhuya Police Outposts were attacked by violent attackers at dawn on 9th October. Nine police officers were killed and a total of 51 assorted weapons and ammunition were lost during the attacks. After the attacks, military columns comprising government troops and the police conducted area clearance operations in the area to recover lost weapons and ammunition and to capture the violent attackers in accordance with the law. However, terrorists fabricated stories with the use of social media and the internet while foreign new agencies spread bad news that was contrary to the ethics of the media by publishing one-sided accusations.
Rakhine State Investigation Commission led by Vice President U Myint Swe conducted field trips to Maungtaw from 11 to 13 December. During these trips, Dr Daw Thet Thet Zin, member of the commission and Chairman of the Woman Affairs Federation and other members interviewed local residents including women, children and men to find out whether rapes were committed during the operations. When the commission members arrived at Pyaungpaik Village on 11 December afternoon, they interviewed Ma Jarmaliha exclusively and asked her whether she had been raped, other young women had been raped and whether she had witnessed such cases but she answered that she had never been raped nor witnessed any case of rapes.
A media team comprising local and foreign media visited Rakhine State from 19 to 22 December and on 21 December during their trip, Ma Jarmaliha, 25, of Pyaungpaik Village and Daw Than Than (a) Ma Norjan, 32, told the media that they had been raped by security forces.
As a result, authorities visited Pyaungpaik Village and met elders of the area including U Khali, a head of hundred households in Pyaungpaik Village, and Mammud Enu, Village Administrator of Sabeigon Village. Authorities also invited Ma Jarmaliha and Daw Than Than (a) Ma Norjan, who no longer lived in Pyaungpaik Village and have moved to Ngasarkyu Village, to the meeting but they did not come to the meeting and had escaped, according to the village administrator. Therefore, authorities asked her neighbours including Abu Bawshof, Manunat and the head of hundred-household and they told the authorities that the accusation were not true, that they had never heard of any rape in the village and could not understand why the women told journalists that they had been raped.
Any resident of Maungtaw has the right to report to the police in accordance with the law and action will be taken against perpetrators if the report is correct and victims will be given effective protection, according to the press release.