3 more Bawm villagers shot dead in Rowangchari, many left their homes in fear

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Hill Voice, 10 May 2023, Bandarban: Terrorists have killed 3 more villagers from Rowangchari upazila under Bandarban district. With this, 10 innocent Bawm indigenous people were killed by terrorists in Rwangchari in two rounds in the last one month. As a result, there is a deep fear among the victims’ families and the people of the area and there are reports that many people are leaving their homes and moving to other places due to fear.

According to local sources, on May 8, 2023 around noon, three people from Bawm community were killed on the spot and another one was injured when terrorists opened fire in the reserve area of Paikhyong Para of No.6 Ward of Rowangchari Sadar Union of Rowangchari Upazila. The deceased are – Nemthang Bawm (43), son of Dokhar Bawm; Lal Lian Bawm (32), son of Lian Thom Bawm and Simlian Thang Bawm (30) and the injured person has been identified as Mansar Bawm. All the deceased are residents of Ronin Para area of Rowangchari and among the deceased, Nemthang Bawm was the president of Awami League of No. 5 Ward of Rowangchari Sadar Union and Lal Lian Bawm is said to be a motor cycle driver. At the time of the incident, the victims were said to be going towards Rowangchari upazila headquarters.

On the same day afternoon, the police recovered the bodies of 3 people who were shot dead from the spot and took them to the Bandarban Sadar Hospital and the next day (May 9) the police handed over the bodies to the Bawm Social Council after the post-mortem at the hospital.

It is known that the victims’ family members did not go to receive the body due to fear. As a result, Bawm Social Council leader Laljar Bawm accepted the body from the police.

Several local residents who did not wish to reveal their names alleged that UPDF (democratic) terrorists supported by the Bangladesh Army had committed this murder. They said that an armed group of UPDF (democratic) terrorists took position in Paikhyong Para area that same day. At one point, the terrorists started firing indiscriminately at the Bawm villagers who were coming from Ronin Para towards Rowangchari Bazar.

Meanwhile, repeated such terror attacks and killings on innocent villagers and no effective action by the administration against the terrorists are said to have created deep fear and anxiety among the people of the area. It has been reported that many people have already left their homes and villages and fled to other places after the incident.

After the three murders, many male members of various Bawm villages including Painkhiongpara, Kaplongpara, Roninpara, Jurvarangpara left their homes in fear and took shelter in the forest.

It is known that many people are afraid to go to the market. Some are unable to go out for work due to fear for long days. As a result, family income has decreased and poverty has increased.

Note that on April 7, 2023, 7 innocent Bawm villagers were shot dead by army-backed reformist and UPDF (democratic) terrorists in Khamtang Para village of Rowangchari Sadar Union, and on the same day, one of the Bawm Party members was killed in a shootout between Reformist and UPDF (democratic) terrorists and Bawm Party terrorists.

According to local sources, around 6:30 a.m. on April 6, 2023, a group of 20-25 armed terrorists belonging to Reformists and UPDF (democratic) entered Khamtang Para village and fired blank bullets, causing panic among the residents. Later, the terrorists detained 22 people from the village one by one.

Later, 15 of the 22 detained were released. However, the other 7 people were detained at Khamtang Para Primary School by the Reformist and UPDF (democratic) terrorists. In the early hours of the next day, a group of Bawm Party terrorists carried out two rounds of armed attacks on Reformist and UPDF (democratic) terrorists. A member of the Bawm party was killed when both sides exchanged fire.

On the other hand, in the second attack of Bawm party, the Reformist and UPDF (democratic) terrorists got angry and shot dead the 7 innocent Bawm villagers who were detained, according to sources.

After the incident, more than 250 families of Bawm and Marma communities of Khamtang Para, Paikhyong Para and Kaplong Para were compelled to leave their homesteads and take shelter in Ruma Sadar’s Bawm Social Council Hall and Rowangchari Government High School in order to save their lives.

On April 17, 2023, two Marma villagers were abducted from Molpi Para of Paindu Union in Ruma Upazila by terrorists of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), known as the Bawm Party, and released on April 18, 2023 after they were severely beaten.

It should be noted that there has been a long-standing allegation that it was the army and government circles who created the armed terrorist organizations one after the other UPDF, UPDF (Democratic), JSS (reformist), Mog Party, Bawm Party etc. to thwart the movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord led by the Jana Samhati Samiti and to cover up the intensification of military rule in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, along with the criminalization, repression of rights activists and anti-CHT Accord and jumma interests activities, and harbored and used them.

But as per an agreement since 2021, when the Bawm Party started providing shelter and military training to an Islamic militant group called Jamaat-ul-Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya in exchange for money and later that news surfaced in the media, the army along with other forces was compelled to conduct a combing operation against Bawm Party. But after almost a year of combing operations, being failed to conduct any significant successful operations against the Bawm Party, the army recently engaged the UPDF and reformists terrorists against the Bawm Party.

Meanwhile, terrorists are continuing their terror activities unabated, while the common people are being killed and tortured and forced to live inhumane lives in extreme fear and limbo, said an indigenous rights activist, who did not wish to be named.