Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Burmese Army soldiers abandon 210 wives in eight villages

(Narinjara) -Burmese Army soldiers have deserted over 210 women from eight villages located near the town of Rathidaung, 20 miles north of Sittwe, after marrying them, said a youth who compiled a list.

“I have collected the names of the women, who were deserted by Burmese soldiers from only eight villages in Rathidaung Township, but I could not collect the names of women from other villages and townships in Arakan state,” he said.

The list compiled by the youth comes after three army battalions were sent to Rathidaung to be stationed from 1992 to 2008. The three battalions are LIB 536, 537 and 538.

The eight villagers are – Kha Naung Gyi, Say Kan, Kan Byin, Taung Hla Maw, Wra Thit Kay, Nga Tauk Tuu Chay and two other wards in Rathidaung- northeast east and south.

Among the 210 women, some were widowed after the soldiers died on the frontline in eastern Burma. But most of the women were abandoned by the Burmese soldiers.

“I saw many children with the women but I did not get the chance of compiling a list of children due to security problems. I hope to collect the children’s list soon,” he said.

According to a local source, many Arakanese women married Burmese soldiers in Arakanese tradition where there is no need for documents and registers.

“It is a big problem because many parents of women are innocent and poor and they did not know they needed documents and marriage certificates when their daughters married Burmese soldiers. When they complained to army officials after the soldiers left their daughters, the officials refused to pay heed to complaints because there were no marriage documents,” the youth said.

Many local elders blamed the military junta for this because the regime stationed three army battalions in Rathidaung where there is no insurgency. Everybody strongly believes it is a preplanned move by the junta to resort to ethnic cleansing in Arakan state.

U Hla Kyaw, from the motor boat ward said, “Our township was very peaceful in the past as there was no insurgency. But the junta sent three battalions to our town. Afterwards, the prices of goods increased in our town. We also faced many anti-social activities and abuses by soldiers after the battalions came.

It is learnt that there is not a single village in Arakan State where Burmese soldiers do not have a wife after nearly 60 army battalions were stationed in the State since 1988.

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