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Economic crisis spurs dacoities in Arakan

Fear psychosis has gripped people in northern Arakan as instances of armed robberies have increased drastically in rural areas, particularly in Maungdaw, Rathidaung,...

Rathidaung: Fear psychosis has gripped people in northern Arakan as instances of armed robberies have increased drastically in rural areas, particularly in Maungdaw, Rathidaung, and Buthidaung Townships, say local residents.

"The robberies occurred recently in many villages in these townships, but no one was arrested. People in rural areas are living in fear because of the robberies," a villager said.

On 12 June, 2010, a gang of dacoits robbed a house in Ye Dwin Kyunt Village in Maungdaw Township, stealing goods from Mr. Zar Far, a member of the village council.

On 8 June, a robbery took place in Myaw Daung Village in northern Maungdaw Township, where a woman lost gold jewelry worth about five million kyat. The woman was identified as Mrs. Habay Ra, whose husband is now living in Saudi Arabia.

On 6 June, another robbery occurred in Thami Hla Owe Fauk Village in Rathidaung Township, where the robbers looted gold jewelry and 700,000 kyat in cash from the home of U Aung Sein Tun.

Local sources say a group of 20 dacoits armed with sophisticated guns entered the house of U Aung Sein Tun impersonating Nasaka officers and ordering him to open the door on the pretext that they wanted to communicate with Nasaka headquarters from U Aung Sein Tun's CDMA telephone.

When U Aung Sein Tun opened the door, the robbers grabbed him and tied him up along with other members of the household and looted goods from his home. The robbers fled the village in a machine boat.

Many local people suspect that some Nasaka men may have been involved in the robbery.

On May 12, 2010, a robbery took place at a village chairman's house in Thet Yet Okk Village in Maungdaw, where robbers looted five million kyat worth of goods - including gold jewelry. Here too the robbers entered the home pretending to be Nasaka men.

After that robbery, the victim, Tun Aye Maung, was fired by the district chairman Mr Tun Naing Lin from his post as village chairman on the charge that despite being a chairman, he was unable to defend his own home.

"Many robberies have taken place in many villages in the townships, but these are just a few that we can mention. There have been many robberies but the authorities have not yet arrested anyone," the villager said.

Such robberies had ceased in the past few years in the area, but have begun again since the beginning of 2010. Local residents and authorities believe the robberies are a direct result of the severe economic crisis that has hit Arakan State.