August 12, 2017

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Interview with U Tun Myat, ex-top security official for United Nations

By Tin Maung Lwin (Myanma Alin)

A member of the investigation commission meets with villagers during the visit to conflict areas in northern Rakhine. Photo: Tin Maung Lwin (Myanma Alin)
A member of the investigation commission meets with villagers during the visit to conflict areas in northern Rakhine. Photo: Tin Maung Lwin (Myanma Alin)

Vice President U Myint Swe, chairman of the investigation commission on Rakhine State, and members went to the villages where armed attacks took place to investigate local elders, eyewitnesses. Over the experiences from the present investigations and comparison between situation on the ground and news and information described in foreign media, U Tun Myat, one of the commission member and ex-top security official for the United Nations expressed his statements.
Q. We found a news item in the internet web page posted by some foreign media that a mother of seven children aged 40 fled Kyetyoepyin village to Bangladesh after the October 9 armed attack. It was learnt that her children and husband were killed. As regards this, let me know what the difference between the allegation and the actual situation is.
A. We as well found the news in foreign on-line media. The first one is the Guardian on-line page and another is a news item from Hong Kong. Generally, they are found to be badly written, saying that there were many rumors. The commission led by Vice President cannot go to all places in the conflict area but we went to Kyetyoepyin village which was concerned with the armed attacks as far as we can. Foreign media’s description varies in 3 kinds. One said the lady lost her 5 children, with described in one media that her husband and one child were killed whereas she herself and a child fleeing into Bangladesh. And she was said to have been raped. Furthermore, it was written that over one hundred people were killed, nearly 700 houses burnt down and women raped. We went to that village to interview them. But we learnt that they generally used to avoid meeting with government and governmental teams. Now we met many of them, having a chance to chat with them. We asked them how many villagers were killed in the village so as to be well convinced as to whether news posted by foreign media was reasonable or not. At first, we think that they will disclose. But when we asked them individually they told us. To be exact, the village has a population of 10500 or so, and over 1000 houses. They gave us the list of the killed—10 men, 3 women and 3 children with their names exactly written in the list. We interrogated them whether there were 5 children and a mother and a father and 5 children killed in the arson attack, they replied, “No.” They said they overheard that a mother and two children were dead. By seeing this, obviously description in foreign media was wrong. This is their actual statement.

We interrogated them whether there were 5 children and a mother and a father and 5 children killed in the arson attack, they replied, “No.” They said they overheard that a mother and two children were dead. By seeing this, obviously description in foreign media was wrong. This is their actual statement. 

They said one child was hit with a bullet but he was not dead. And he did not belong to the family. On showing them the photo of one Noor Ayesha and her son, they did never see them in this village. Children also replied that they too did not know them. According to a medical doctor who knows their language, a youth aged 20 or so told the children asking them to tell that they had ever seen them.
Q. How would you like to respond to the false news posted by foreign media and social websites so as to be known to all?
A. They themselves did not know exactly whether over 100 people were killed, over 700 houses burnt down and more than 50 women raped. Usually the commission did not intend to disclose this in detail. But it was badly written at the present time. Though not finishing our investigation, alleged writings are too unreasonable. So we are disclosing the true situations for making all well convinced in advance.

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