The Rohingya community in Maungdaw met with Derek J. Mitchell, US Ambassador to Burma, today around 10:30am in Nyoung Chaung village, Maungdaw, according to a local elder.
“The US envoy to Burma, Mr. Derek J. Mitchell, the U.S. Department of State’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Joseph Y. Yun, and others visited Shel Kali village of southern Maungdaw, Shweyinaye, and Nyoung Chang village this morning and left Maungdaw about 11:30 am,” said the resident.
The US Ambassador also visited Akyab and Aung Mangala refugee camp, where he discussed the details of the refugees’ situation in the camp since the riots.
Accompanying the US envoy were high-level officials from the Arakan State government, concerned authorities of Maungdaw with Shamshul Haque and Anam, and members of the Regional Development Association (RDA) as interpreters, said a Maungdaw official.
The US envoy arrived by helicopter and landed at Nyoung Change village to visit the new settlers’ (Natala) village – Shweyinaye. While returning to the helicopter, Mr. Mitchell met an elderly man in the street that wanted to express his opinion but was unable to explain the life of the Rohingya community, said an elder from village.
“The interpreters were not offering any explanation of [what] the old man [was saying]. But Shamshu Islam, a student from the village, explained what the old man said when he got a chance to describe the Rohingya situation in northern Arakan to the envoy. The envoy asked the student about the village, when it was built, who lives in the village, is there any Mosque and school in the village, and so on.”
“Our village was built 200 years ago and all the villagers were of the Rohingya community. There are more than 7,000 people living here [now] and the authorities locked all the Mosques after the riots. We have only one primary school where they teach class from one to four [in the afternoon], but it has been closed since June 8. Our homes and properties are destroyed, looted, and burned down by authorities and Rakhines together. We are not allowed to go to the market to buy food for our families. Now, we are facing a food shortage and no UN [agencies] or INGOs are giving us any food, the relief goods are only going to the Rakhine community. No shelters are for Rohingya IDPs in northern Arakan, all the shelters are being built for Rakhines. So, we request to all the international community to help us with food, shelter and security,” said the student.
“We are facing daily harassment from security forces – the police, army, Hluntin and Nasaka – that [adds to] our daily life struggles. The police are always arresting us Rohingyas with false and fabricated allegations, and they are helping the Rakhine community to attack us.”
The student added, “I will face so much trouble from concerned authorities for talking with you [the US Envoy] and explaining the situation of the Rohingya community.”
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