Locals want refugees to go back to their native places

(Pauk Taw, 22 June 2013) : The residents of Pauk Taw township areas in Arakan State want to get rid of refugees in their areas and expect that they would go back to their native places  very soon.

U San Tun Hla, a village elder from Sin Ain village under Sin Tetmaw village tract of  Pauk Taw township told Narinjara over phone that they are facing many problems due to the refugees from Kyauk Pru and other areas of Pauk Taw township came to their area to take shelter in temporary camps.

Most of the refugee camps are located in the surrounding areas of Sin Tetmaw village tract.

“We would like to request the authority to send back all the refugees who arrived here from many parts of Arakan State. The refugees should be shifted to their native villages. After all, we are having many problems because of their presence in our areas,” said the Sin Ain village elder.

Statistics reveal that there are over 9000 Muslim families taking shelter in Sin Tetmaw village tract. These Muslim refugees had come from Kyauk Pru and other parts of Pauk Taw township following the sectarian violence that broke out in October last year.

“Now our children are also facing security problems because of the refugee camps on the way to their schools. We have only one primary school in our village. The senior students have to go the government high schools in Sin Tetmaw village. And it is around one mile away from our Sin Ain village. The students find it difficult to walk for nearly 20 minutes to the school and then return as the road passes through many places where the refugee camps are placed,” added the village elder.

The scenario is not relevant for only Sin Ain village which has nearly 200 house holds, but also for other villages like Sin Tetmaw, Mala Taung, Pinay Chaung etc.

Many local residents have also complained about regular stealing of trees, cattle, vegetables since the refugees had arrived in their localities, informed another Sin Ain villager named U Aung Than.

“They (refugees) often enter in our orchid gardens for stealing of trees when we come out of the locality. The refuges come in groups of 9 or 10 to cut and take away the plants including teak, rubber and other wooden trees from the gardens,” he added.

Vegetables from the farmland of local residents are also being reportedly stealing by the refugees.

Though the UN and other international non-government organizations extend assistances in the form of food and other necessary items, those are seemingly insufficient for the inmates living in the refugee camps of Sin Tetmaw village tract.

Though there is a platoon of Burma Army staying in Sin Ain village for security reasons, they remain incapable of solving the problems as it happens frequently making the task impossible for the government forces.

The Sin Ain villager clarified that they are not anti-Muslims and many Muslim families are still living in their areas. But the problems are being created by Muslim refugees, who had come from other parts of the State. Hence they want the authority to send back to refugees to their respective village and towns at the earliest.