Burma Times Correspondent: March 20, 2015
Consistent reports of armed men training in hills near Rohingya settlemets are creating panic among the local populace.
In recent times, armed men have murdered a boy in Kyaukpyu and wounded a man with a gunshot with a as he saved his son from being killed in the restive village of Kiladong. There has been sightings of armed men in Dolu para, Buthidaung. Additionally refugees fleeing to Bangladesh have spoken of armed Rakhine men near the border.
Altogether, it is an open secret that hundreds of armed Rakhine men are taking position in the hills adjacent to many Muslim settlements. Villagers fear that the men are just waiting for the opurtune moment for attacking them.
Many Rohingyas are saying that generally when the security forces attack them, they flee to the hills. But now the hills are filled with armed men belonging to nationalist groups. As a reuslt, one commented that it was being caught between a crocodile and a snake.
The sightings of armed men comes at a tense time when the government has declared that white cards will expire. The so called white cards serve as the only document of identification for Rohingyas and there are fears that without this document, the Rohingyas will lose their only proof of residence in the country, thus giving the government the oppurtunity to push them out. Many Rohingyas are considring ignoring government orders giving fears of violence.
Meanwhile, following sightings last week, the armed men have become more careful and reportedly taken greater preacations to conceal themselves.