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Fresh tension mounts in Sajek

News No. 35/2009, May 9, 2009

Tension has been mounting in Sajek area of Rangamati district since the announcement of an army deadline for the release of two settlers alleged to have been disappeared a few days ago.

The deadline ended at 10am yesterday, 8 May.

One source said on 7 May army personnel from Baghaihat Zone had arrested five Jummas from Gulokmachara and Nuopara villages. However, they were released later. Four of the victims have been identified as Gharbenga Chakma, age 26, Jibonneye Chakma, age 41, Phara Hulo Chakma, age 42 and Biju Kumar Chakma.

The source further said the residents of four villages – Retkaba, Gangaram Mukh, Baibachara and Jarulchari – had fled their homes for fear of arrest or settler attacks.

These villages had seen brutal attacks last year that led to the destruction of hundreds of houses and the killing of an innocent Jumma villager. The attacks were launched to facilitate land grabbing in the area.

Although information are still scanty, recent developments suggest the bad old days are staging a comeback.

One Milan Chakma told chtnews.com from Marishya by phone that about a week ago a group of settlers from Baghaihat had gone to village Simanachara to grab lands.

“They just came and began clearing the jungle.” he said. However, he could not clarify further as the phone line was noisy and cut off abruptly.

A UPDF leader in Dighinala said he had no idea, whatsoever, of any settler being kidnapped, and suggested that the story of disappearance of two settlers was merely a rumour that was spread in a calculated way to create pretexts for mounting attacks on Jumma villages.

“It has very much to do with land grabbing schemes of the settlers” he commented.

While the army has demanded the release of the allegedly kidnapped settlers, they have not yet disclosed their names.

chtnews.com is an independent and voluntary online news service dedicated to projecting and analyzing the current events in the Chittagong Hill Tracts from the perspective of the Jumma people’s struggle for the right to self-determination. For further information please contact at: chtnewsonline@gmail.com

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