969 involvement suspected
Burma Times Correspondent: February 20, 2015
Eight houses of Rohingya Muslims were destroyed in a sudden fire at Chor para, Garaita Beel, Maungdaw North on February 8, according to our correspondent.
Locals blame the Buddhist nationalist movement 969 to have a hand in this arson. They say that during the day, there were suspicious movements of Rakhines in the Muslim neighbourhood who planted chemicals in the room. When a Rohingya woman tried to light a stove at around 9.30 pm, the fire spread quickly from the stove which would not have happened naturally.
The Rakhines moving around suspiciously were identified to be local members of the 969 movement. There are about 30 Rakhine households close to the Rohingya settlement.
Rather than considering the suspicions of the victims, the authorities however blamed the Rohingyas for setting their own houses on fire to make the 969 movement look guilty. Authorities have harassed the Rohingya families in the aftermath of the fire and forced them to pay bribes to keep them out of jail.
Rohingyas need permission to build new houses and that permission has not been given. The eight households are currently living in makeshift shelters.
The houses belong to the families of Abul Hossain (60) s/o Abdul Karim, brothers Halu (40) and Abdus Salam (40) s/o Abu Bakar, brothers Bashir Ahmed (45) and Abu Ahmed (45) s/o Kala Mia, Shamsu Alam (30) s/o Md Hossain, Zakir Ahmed (65) s/o Syed Ahmed and Zafar Haque (25) s/o Zafar Ahmed.
In a separate incident, male members of four houses have been on the run after their houses burned down in Saheb Bazar, Maungdaw South as the government accused them of trying to discredit Buddhists.
The similar chain of events has given rise to the suspicion that anti-Muslim groups have devised a new way to harass Rohingya Muslims.