Voices from government employees, local people in Maungtaw over deadly attacks

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With the recent violence in Maungtaw Township, Rakhine State, terror has struck again to teachers and government employees serving in Maungtaw and nearby areas. As a result, Tatmadaw helicopters had to evacuate them to safe places. Myanmar News Agency interviewed some of the evacuees.
Government employees in Maungtaw were worried about the situation before the Tatmadaw reinforced the police.
“I had just moved to Maungtaw when the violence broke out. I haven’t slept for four days since it started, we are even afraid to go to the market,” said Daw Khin Mar Zin, Deputy Staff Officer of the Rural Development Department.
“When we saw the funeral service for the police who lost their lives during the violent attacks, our hearts were broken. Everyone was worried about us and phoned us, but we could not leave our places without permission from our superiors because we are government employees,” she added.
“Although we feel unsafe, we trust the government and the Tatmadaw. Most of the authorities here are the police, but they do not have enough strength. Now, the Tatmadaw is helping them and we are relieved,” she said. “Now, security has been reinforced and we asked permission from our superiors and went back,” she said.
A teacher from Kyaingchaung Basic Education High School said she was trying to teach many Muslim children as the government told them that those in the area were not educated, which led them to resort to violence.
“I am teaching a lot of Muslim children. When the violent attacks broke out in the area, we were in the middle of the Muslims. We were afraid of them. We could not know what they would do to us,” said Ma Than Than Htay, a teacher at the Kyaingchaung Basic Education High School.
“I have been here since 2007 as a middle school teacher and a high school teacher. The government told us that people here often resorted to violence because they were not educated. Now, they are learning from us and some of them are good at English. However, they posted lies and religious instigation on the internet,” she added. “Later, helicopters from the Tatmadaw evacuated us to a safe place,” she said.
As the area is mostly populated by Muslims, government employees there said they were worried about their security because there was no safe place for them to escape.
“Over 90 per cent of my students are Muslim and I had to teach them with gestures because they could not understand Myanmar and I could not understand their language. We were amidst Muslims. We were worried about our safety,” Teacher Daw Win Win Kyi of Kyaingchaung Basic Education High School.
Not just government employees but also non-Muslim people in the area are afraid to go back to their native village and have moved to safe areas such as Sittwe.
“I lived in Aine Village in Maungdaw together with my daughter and her husband for many years, but we always had to worry about our safety and couldn’t even sleep. Now we moved to Pauktaw Village near Sittwe,” said Daw Moe Sein from Aine Village.

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