Yangon, Myanmar, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- Myanmar authorities detained 99 members of the persecuted Rohingya minority in a raid in Yangon, the country’s main city, including four human traffickers, according to Thursday police reports.
The raid took place Wednesday in two houses on the outskirts of the former Burmese capital and resulted in the arrest of 73 women and 26 men of this ethnic group from whom the government took away their citizenship three decades ago, police Cpt. Tin Maung Lwin told EFE.
“They said they were here passing through to go to Malaysia in search of work. We didn’t actually arrest them, we just detained them and we are awaiting orders from our superiors to proceed,” Tin Maung Lwin said.
At the moment, the Rohingya, who came from various districts of the Arakan state (in the west of the country), have been quarantined to avoid contagion of COVID-19 on a university campus enabled for this purpose, the officer told EFE.
The Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group from Arakan, are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite having lived for generations in Myanmar, a country with a Buddhist majority and whose government restricts their freedom of movement. Their citizenship was revoked in the ‘90s and early 2000s.
As a consequence of their stateless status, Rohingya are routinely detained if they are captured outside their state or even their villages.
Between 2012 and May 2015, some 170,000 Rohingya according to UN figures, were put into the hands of human trafficking networks to escape the repression they suffer in Mynamar, mostly bound for Malaysia.
The Malaysian and Thai authorities succeeded in dismantling these networks in mid-2015, thus reducing the migration of Rohingya to a minimum.
At that time, it was estimated that more than 1 million Rohingya lived in Rakhine state, many of them confined to displacement camps after successive waves of sectarian violence in 2012 between them and the majority ethnic group in Arakan, the predominantly Buddhist Rakhine.
In August 2017, the Myanmar army launched a military campaign against the Rohingya population in northern Arakan, for which the government faces a genocide charge before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The brutal military operation led to the exodus of more than 725,000 refugees to neighboring Bangladesh, where they live with other Rohingya who fled previous waves of violence, in the world’s largest refugee camp complex.
Meanwhile, in the last two years, Arakan has become the scene of a fierce war between the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Rakhine ethno-nationalist guerilla of the Arakan Army. EFE-EPA