More than 200 IDP refugees left homeless after Military Council forced the demolishing of 56 houses in Buthidaung
Narinjara News, November 1, 2022
About 200 people are left homeless after the Army ordered the demolition of 56 houses that were temporarily built and lived in by war refugees in Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State.
The Military Council has ordered war refugees sheltering in front of the Yan Aung Myay Monastery in Buthidaung to leave by October. The regime forces said that the land is owned by the military, and if the refugees are not departed, they will be considered as squatters and actions will be taken. The camp manager of Yan Aung Myay refugee camp said that all the houses had to be dismantled and removed on October 31 due to the Military Council’s threat.
“They have been living in tents there for 3 years since there was no room left in the monastery. Then the Army ordered them to move from there and return home in October. Otherwise, they were warned that action would be taken against them as squatters, so they were scared and demolished their house”, he said.
The Military Council and local administrative officials summoned the refugees and warned them to dismantle their houses in mid-October. Refugees who have no place to live anymore are facing difficulties while living as spongers in the Yan Aung Myay camp and need help, the camp manager added.
“At the moment, some of the refugees are staying in houses that are vacant because the people who used to live there have returned to their villages. But it's not convenient. Some have improvised and arranged small spaces in the school compound”, he said.
There were a total of 56 houses demolished due to pressure from the Military Council, with as many as 200 residents.
The people living in temporary huts in front of the monastery arrived in Buthidaung fleeing the war around 2018/19. Yan Aung Myay Monastery had no more room to accommodate them, so they built houses and lived next to the monastery since then.
Recently, there have been frequent battles in Buthidaung Township, and reports of artillery shells falling into residential areas are heard almost every day. Refugees whine that they suffer dearly because they are forced to return home at this time.
“We don't dare to go back to our native villages. There are armed clashes almost every day. And we hear news of people dying due to the frequent artillery bombardments. Now that we no longer can live in Buthidaung, we don't know what to do next”, a refugee said.
Internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rakhine do not receive regular food aid from the regime. In addition, the Military Council has banned NGOs and INGOs that are sending humanitarian aid from visiting Rakhine.
Social aid activists in Rakhine have criticized the Military Council's action of forcibly repatriating IDPs while the fighting is raging as inhumane.