Myanmar army men raped her as she tried to escape her village
Rohingya girl Minu Ara (not real name) is not yet 18 years old. Her home was Shilkhali Village, in Maungdaw upazila of Arakan state, in Myanmar.
Minu escaped atrocities in her homeland a year ago, and is currently living in an unregistered Rohingya Camp in Kutupalong in Ukhiya of Cox’s Bazar.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Minu recounted how her dreams of having a normal life and family was shattered when four Myanmar army men gang-raped her during the crackdown on Rohingya people.
The details of her perilous escape to Bangladesh are still fuzzy in Minu’s mind—and does not know whether her parents survived the ordeal.
Minu presently lives in B-block of Kutupalong Rohingya camp. However, she remains haunted by the barbaric torture and sexual assault perpetrated by the Myanmar army. Minu has trouble sleeping and regularly suffers from panic attacks.
Recounting painful memories
Minu told the correspondent: “It was Saturday. The villagers of Shilkhali were fleeing in fear of their lives. I too left my home and escaped. But I could not go very far. A team of eight Myanmar army men captured me near my village.
“They started beating me with gun butts and threatened to shoot me dead by pushing the barrel of a gun to my face. Later, the army men tied me up and dragged me to an empty house. I was gang-raped there. I lost consciousness after four people raped me.”
She continued: “The army men left me in that empty home thinking I was dead. Locals found me and carried me to the Bangladesh border. I was suffering from heavy bleeding due to the sexual abuse, and was having difficulty walking.”
Minu became emotional while recounting her horrific experience.
With tears in her eyes, she further said: “I regained consciousness while a boat transported me along the Naf River at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. I did not want to live any longer, so I tried to jump off the boat.
“However, the boatman and my relatives prevented me from committing suicide.”
After arriving in Bangladesh, she took shelter in a relative’s shack in Kutupalong Rohingya camp. She gathered some money with the help of locals and underwent treatment for days at the UNHCR hospital near the camp.
Minu Ara is physically well after her ordeal, but she still suffers from mental trauma.
She told the correspondent: “The Myanmar army men wanted to shoot me dead, but I was spared in the end. I witnessed the murder of two other women on that day. But death would have been better than the abuse I suffered.
“I feel safer in the camp, but I can no-longer sleep well. I am forever haunted by the barbaric abuse. I have recurring nightmares of the Myanmar army men sexually assaulting me.”
Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have fled into Bangladesh after a military crackdown began in the Rakhine State of Myanmar on August 25 of last year; adding to 400,000 previously-settled Rohingyas in the Cox's Bazar region.