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Monday, January 1, 2018

Myanmar to Repatriate Rohingya Refugees Only During Daylight Amid Extended Curfew



From RFA Report: Myanmar officials in northern Rakhine state will repatriate Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh only during daytime because of an extended dawn-to-dusk curfew in Maungdaw township, a government minister said Friday.
Myanmar signed an agreement with Bangladesh in November to take back refugees from northern Rakhine state where a recent military crackdown forced 655,000 Rohingya to flee to safety across the border.
The operation is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22 at two reception centers in Taung Pyo Let Wae and Nga Khu Ya villages.
Authorities will process repatriations only during daylight hours because of a curfew that has been extended in northern Rakhine’s Maungdaw township, said Win Myat Aye, Myanmar’s minister for social welfare, relief, and resettlement.
Returning refugees who are processed at the two reception centers must adhere to the curfew, he said.
The refugees who want to return also cannot go out after 6 p.m., but they can go out freely in the daytime,” he told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “Authorities did it [imposed the curfew] to ensure people’s safety.”
On Monday, local authorities extended the curfew in Maungdaw for two months to ensure security, stability, and rule of law in the area, state-run Myanmar News Agency reported. The order bans gatherings of more than five people and prohibits anyone from being outdoors between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Maungdaw, along with neighboring Buthidaung, and Rathedaung townships, has been the focal point of two waves of violence against the Rohingya, which have included brutal killings, arson torture, and rape.
The Myanmar government ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew in northern Rakhine following deadly raids by a Muslim militant group on three border guard stations in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships on Oct. 9, 2016. Those who violated the order had to pay a 20,000-kyat (U.S. $15) fine.
Another curfew was imposed following deadly attacks by the same group on 30 police outposts and an army base in northern Rakhine on Aug. 25, 2017.

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