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Two men from Kaing Gyi village in Maungdaw Township were shot dead on Thursday morning and four women were reported missing in the latest killings and disappearances to plague northern Arakan State.
“Around 8am this morning, the local residents heard a gunshot sound,” Htun Hla Sein, a member of the Arakan State legislature, told DVB. “They [security forces] found two dead bodies and learned that four women had gone missing. Now, the township administrator and I are trying to provide necessary assistance. Tatmadaw [Burma Army] forces have gone to the area to carry out clearance operations.”
The deceased pair, two men in their mid-20s named Kone Wine and Lin Kyat, were found in southern Maungdaw Township’s Mayu mountain region, where the government has said Rohingya Muslim militants are operating. Border guard forces are in search of the four missing women — Ma Yi, Ma Sein Yar, Ma Htone Wai and Ma Tone Kaw.
All six were described as farmers from Kaing Gyi village.
Tatmadaw, border guard police personnel and locals are cooperating in the search for the missing women.
Multiple reports from government sources in recent weeks have described the Mayu mountain range as a stationing grounds for Islamic militants. In June, state media reported the discovery of “terrorist training camps,” tunnels and supplies, with security forces killing three suspected militants in the anti-insurgency operation that uncovered the sites.
On 27 July, a local from Chut Pyin village, in neighbouring Rathedaung Township, also went missing. The government has blamed several killings and disappearances in northern Arakan State on “terrorists” in the months since 9 October, when a band of Rohingya militants attacked border guard police posts, killing nine officers.
Security forces have launched an aggressive counter-insurgency campaign since then, sending more than 70,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border into Bangladesh amid widespread reports of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by soldiers and police. The government has rejected nearly all allegations of misconduct by state security personnel.