(News Desk) – Myanmar’s military agencies have reportedly targeted Rohingya Muslim villagers that spoke to a United Nations Security Council delegation in Rakhine last week, prompting them to go into hiding.
Members of the local community spoke to the UN delegation during their visit to the troubled area earlier this month and shared their accounts of violence at the hands of Myanmar’s military officers.
Since then, they have been forced to disappear after intelligence authorities launched efforts to track them down, the British daily The Guardian reported Saturday.
The paper cited a Rohingyan reporter as saying that prior to the arrival to Rakhine of the UN delegation, officials in Maungdaw township had warned the Muslim residents in the neighboring villages against sharing with the emissaries anything adverse about the Myanmar government or its security forces.
“Anyone disobeying the warning would face hard consequences, the authorities threatened,” said the unnamed reporter, who explained that his identity was being withheld for security reasons.
While most villagers declined to speak to the UN envoys following the threat, “in the village of Nolboinna three teenage boys and a middle-aged woman were willing to defy the orders,” added the daily.
“Soon after the envoys left Nolboinna, agents from Myanmar’s Sa Ra Pa or military intelligence unit and border guard police (BGP) arrived in the village looking for the Rohingya who had spoken to the envoys,” it said.
“Some intelligence agents who accompanied the envoys had filmed the conversations between the Rohingya villagers and the envoys in Nolboinna,” according to the reporter cited by the daily.
“The Sa Ra Pa agents showed some of those video clips to the village administrator and other villagers of Nolboinna and sought their help to find out the four Rohingya villagers.
“It’s clear, fearing retribution from the government or the security agencies they all (the boys and the woman) have gone into hiding. We don’t know if they are still in Burma or have crossed over to Bangladesh.”
During their one-day visit to Rakhine on May 1, the UN representatives paid a visit to several Rohingya villages, looking to hear first-hand experiences of violence used by military forces from as many Muslim villagers as possible.
As an apparent result of their trip findings, the UN Security Council called on Myanmar’s authorities on Wednesday to speed up efforts to ensure the safe return of the Rohingya and to hold accountable those who have waged attacks against the Muslim minority.
Council members further urged the Myanmar government in a draft report to conduct “transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses and violations.”