People Protest Rape and Murder of Ma Thidar Htwe in Rambree

Rambree: Over 700 angry people marched to the township administration office on 30 May to protest against the authorities over the brutal rape and murder of Ma Thidar Htwe in Rambree in southern Arakan State.

Korantaung Pagoda in Rambree

“We took Saw Mae Kyi Street and Office Street in downtown Rambree to protest against the authorities. We first marched to the police station, and then to the township administration office and made our demands to the authorities concerning the brutal murder and rape of Ma Thidar Htwe in our area,” said one of the protesters.

He said many people from the rural villages in the township came to Rambree in engine boats and joined the protest as well.

“We have demanded the authorities prove publicly if the arrested Muslim youth are the genuine offenders in the crime or not. The authorities here have the habit of fabricating [cases against] innocent people in crimes after taking hefty bribes from the culprits. That’s why we have made this as our first demand to the authorities for the authenticity of the offenders in this crime,” he said.

While speaking about their demand, the protester added, “This brutal crime has happened because of the negligent and corrupted law enforces in our area. Before this crime, there had been a number of minor attacks such as disturbances and verbal insults against the women and female students by some bad people from that Muslim village. Those attacks were reported to the local law enforcers and authorities as well. But the authorities have neglected to take action against the attackers after taking money from them, and this brutal attack on the woman has consequently occurred in our area. That’s why we have demanded the authorities not be negligent and take immediate action against those attacks as our second demand.”

He said that the higher local authorities, including the township administrator, were in Kyauknimaw Village where the crime took place on the day of their protest, but the other responsible officers from the township administration have promised to fulfill their demands.

“The authorities have told us that they would let five of our elders see the arrested offenders and they would try their best to meet our other demands subsequently,” he added.

Nearly 200 people who have come from rural villages to Rambree to participate in the protest are still staying at the high school in the town because all of their demands are yet to be met by the authorities.

“All of our demands are not fulfilled by the authorities yet and there were no higher officers in the administration office when we staged the protest. So, we are not going back home and if necessary we will protest again,” said one of the villagers from Kyauknimaw Village.

The villager said the people from Kyauknimaw and other nearby villages in Rambree Township are especially blaming the police forces deployed in Kyauknimaw for the brutal crime, presuming that such crime has happened as an escalation of the minor attacks perpetrated by some bad individuals from the Muslim villages against the women and school girls in the area because the police have neglected to take action in those early attacks after taking money from the perpetrators despite the official complaints filed.

Narinjara has made a number of phone calls to the police station in Kyauknimaw for its comments on the situation, but the personnel from the station claimed the phone line was cutting out and hung up without a response.

Ma Thidar Htwe, the victim of the crime, was 26 years old and a resident of Thapraychaung Village in Rambree Township. She was brutally raped and killed on the evening of 28 May as she was coming back home along after attending her daily tailoring training in nearby Kyauknimaw Village. Her body was cremated on 30 May.

The three identified suspects, 23-year-old Htak Htak, 18-year-old Rafiqu, and 21-year-old Luyub, from nearby Kyaukhtara Muslim Village in the area are now in police custody in relation to the crime.