Two shocking murders of young girls in Rakhine State have led to increased security forces being deployed in Kyauktaw and Pauktaw, an official said last week, in efforts to keep the already volatile region from exploding into further violence.
The deployment comes after two young girls, Rakhine Buddhists aged five and six, were found murdered on November 17 and 18 in separate incidents. One victim reportedly appeared to have been raped.
Local residents are worried the incidents will spark a further round of violence between Rakhine Buddhist and Muslim communities.
“The state government posted more security forces in both areas to keep conditions stable,” said U Win Myaing, secretary of the Rakhine State government’s Information and Records Committee.
Ma Zalattwa, age five, from Soe Mae Kyi village in Pauktaw township went missing on November 17 after celebrating the full moon night of Tazaungdine with her friends, according to Narinjara News. She was killed later that evening and her body recovered the next day.
Ma Mi Mi Nge, age six, from Kyar Nyo Byint village in Kyauktaw township went missing on the night of November 18 while playing with friends, relatives say.
“We found her body in a farmland near a village at 2pm. She was already dead. All assumed that she was murdered after being raped by some people,” relative U Myint Maung told The Myanmar Times by phone on November 21.
Family members don’t yet know exactly how Ma Mi Mi Nge died, U Myint Maung said, though he added that policemen from Apauk Wa station had been questioning villagers as part of their investigation.
Narinjara News reports that, as of November 22, police had arrested at least 12 people in connection with the two murders.
“Police arrested some people, both Muslim and Rakhine,” said U Win Myaing. “We don’t want to comment about these cases. Police are still investigating. We will publish all information that we have after the investigation process is over.”
The chair of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) for Kyauktaw township, U Maung Maung, also confirmed that more security forces had arrived in Kyauktaw.
“Local residents are worried. They are afraid of facing renewed sectarian violence again in Rakhine.”