Burma Times Maungdaw Correspondent, January 22, 2015
One year later, security forces have once again increased vigilance to hunt down survivors of the Du Char Yar Taan massacre following visits of foreign delegations to Arakan. On the night of January 15, 2014, a Rakhine mob backed by the police and BGP killed scores of men, women and children in the remote village.
Immediately after the massacre, the authorities shut down the area by preventing access to journalists and aid workers. When the medical charity MSF acknowledged that it had treated many patients suffering from wounds in the vicinity of Du Char Yar Taan, the government suspended its operations too.
Security forces also clamped down on the survivors in the aftermath of the massacre. There are two reasons for this crackdown – – the government believes that villagers in Du Char Yar Taan were responsible for the death of two policemen during earlier clashes and to prevent information from leaking to the media.
The government refuses to acknowledge to this day that there has been a massacre of Muslim villagers at Du Char Yar Taan. The UN however says that there is credible evidence to conclude that a massacre including murder, rape and looting had taken place in the area.
Survivors who escaped from Burma have told Burma Times that police and BGP regularly went to surrounding villages and checked the identity of locals to verify if they were former residents of Du Char Yar Taan. Anyone belonging to the village were picked up by security forces and tortured. Many were killed and others disappeared.
Now in the aftermath of the visit by UN and US envoys, the authorities are once again apprehensive about them meeting eyewitnesses of the Du Char Yar Taan massacre leading to new vigilance in the Maungdaw area.