23 May 2021, Buthidaung
A man has been arrested in connection with the May 20 rape of a woman sheltering at the Gandhari camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Buthidaung Township, Arakan State.
The father of the 27-year-old victim has called for justice in the ongoing case following the suspect’s arrest on May 22.
“I don’t know why our daughter was raped. We were so upset that we did not even eat. I am very angry at that person. I want him to be prosecuted under the current law,” he said.
A 65-year-old mother and her daughter went to their farm near Monikul village in the Letwe Datpyinshay village-tract on Friday morning, according to Taungbazar police station records.
At about 8 a.m., after working on the farm, the daughter was left in the shade while her mother went to attend to other matters. Thirty minutes later, she heard her daughter screaming and returned to where she was left to find a man whom she had described as Muslim raping her daughter and fleeing the scene, the mother of the victim told DMG.
The two went to Monikul village, took some residents to the scene and searched for the man, but could not find him. They subsequently went to the local monastery and reported the matter to the abbot and manager of the IDP camp, U Maung Kan.
U Maung Kan lodged a complaint with the Taungbazar police station chief, the victim underwent a medical examination at Buthidaung General Hospital and filed a case against the rapist under Section 376 of the Penal Code, according to the father of the victim.
Futu Ali, a 54-year-old from Ywamagonnar Muslim village, was later arrested on suspicion by a case team led by Police Inspector Khin Maung Htwe of the Taungbazar police station.
Saw San Nyein Thu, chairperson of the Rakhine Women’s Initiative Organization, said women in IDP camps were insecure and that authorities should do more to ensure women’s safety.
“It can be assumed that there may be a lot of sexual harassment. Such incidents are of great concern to women. This is especially true in times of political instability. Those in charge need to pay more attention to these issues,” she said.
U Khaing Kaung San, director of the Wan Lark Development Foundation, said the rape in Buthidaung Township was a case in point and should not be seen as an ethnic or religious issue.
The incident was reported by DMG on May 21, prompting criticism on social media of some of the terms used in the story.
U Aung Marm Oo, DMG editor-in-chief, said the report was based on the words of the victim’s mother and that only a few terms had been changed in accordance with DMG’s editorial policy.
“According to our policy, we avoid using the terms ‘Kalar,’ ‘Bengali,’ and ‘Rohingya’ when reporting. Instead, the word ‘Muslim’ is used in the news for the suitability of both parties. So we are not writing about religion on purpose,” he said.
Futu Ali, the alleged rapist, is currently being held at the No. 3 Border Guard Force outpost and will be questioned and remanded into custody, according to the Taungbazar police station.