An 18-year-old Arakan woman has said she was raped on April 8 by Second Captain Site Bo Aung, 27, of 232 Battalion based in Sittwe Partalie village.
The woman (whose name is being withheld to protect her identity), from a village in Paletwa Township, was going to gather vegetables when she and two friends noticed they were being followed by Second Captain Bo Aung and two other soldiers.
Bo Aung shouted at the women to stop, but the women who were afraid, kept walking. One of the soldiers ran ahead and forced the women to stop at gunpoint. The other two women ran away and later reported the assault to the village chairman. Afraid to confront the Burma Army with the rape allegation, he went to the nearby monastery and one of the monks then reported the case to Major Aung Shwe. The Major told the monk he would take action, but nothing has happened.
Bo Aung demanded regular payments for the Burma Army and when one of the villagers failed to provide a chicken for him on April 7, he beat him unconscious. The Captain made to shoot the villager, but the rifle misfired. When he was about to shoot him with a pistol, another villager brought a chicken and Bo Aung walked away.
In a separate development, Battalion 232 has been laying fresh landmines in Paletwa Township near the India/Burma border. Widespread use of landmines in the area occurred during 1994-1997, but this is the most recent reported use of landmines in the villages of Nygeletwa, Pomnyamwa, Aumthiwa, Mariwa, Setalumwa and Putuwa since then. There are reports of three landmines exploding near Mariwa village, but so far there have been no casualties.
Ongoing development projects including a highway between India and Burma and the construction of a 240km border fence between the two countries are causing displacement and the widespread use of forced labor.
Paletwa Township is considered part of Chin State but is an area populated by Arakan, Chin and other ethnic groups. Some Arakan consider it as part of Arakan or Rakhine State.