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JULY 25, 1942 - The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia

[A few background notes:

1) The reporter W. S. Mundy is British, and viewed and

referred to the Burmese, and Arakanese as ‘traitors’, and
‘hooligans’, because they (at first) supported Japan, thinking
Japan was going help free them from the British colonialists.

2) The British had just pulled out of Arakan, leaving two

Rajput Native Battalions of the British Indian Army -
which were largely made up of Muslim troops from
Bengal - who, together with the Chittagong Bengali
Muslims there, started raping the Arakanese women and
girls and killing the Arakanese men and boys.]

Moslems Organize, Battle Japanese

Supporters In Burma; Hundreds of

Villages Burned Down

Reporter Finds Barefoot Army Clad in Shorts

Allah’s Legions Spurn Jap Concessions;

Thousands Killed.

(W. S. Mundy, who wrote the following article for North

American Newspaper Alliance, was one of the first Allied
correspondents to return to Burma after the Japanese


SOMEWHERE IN BURMA, July 19 - (By Wireless, Delayed)

Civil War has broken out in Arakan province in Burma

between the pro-British community of 400,000 Muslims
and Burmese adherents of the Japanese.

Fighting in this war, which the world knew nothing about, including a five-day battle for the
Thakin - nationalist, pro-Jap Burmese - stronghold of Buthidaung and since it began three
weeks ago, thousands of men, women and children have been killed, towns have been
captured, and hundreds of villages have been burned.

[Note: Thakin is the term for the Burmese involved in the struggle for independence]

Now the Moslems, who have formed their own war council
and raised their own armed forces, not only are a threat to
the Japanese hold on Akyab [Sittwe] but their war is certain
greatly to strengthen the sympathy for the Allies throughout
the Islamic world.

Concessions Promised

The Japanese are so perturbed about this civil strife that they
sent emissaries to the Moslems in their main headquarters at
Maungdaw, promising them “Pakistan” – self–government –
and other concessions in the area they have won if they lay
down their arms.

[Note: Already the Muslims wanted to seize the land for themselves
and not be in the future country of Burma, so Japan tried to woo
them by promising their dream-land in exchange for giving up their

But Omra Meah, austere, 30—year—old school teacher, who

is president of the council elected by a parliament made up of
village elders, sent the Japanese emissaries away and their
offers were rejected.

[Note: Omra Meah is a notorious figure who became one of the

Mujahid leaders of the Muslim rebellion in the late 1940s, 1050s]

I succeeded in penetrating by hill tracks and jungle paths

along the rivers and through unending rain and mud into this
new buffer state whose bare-footed army in uniforms of pink
shirts and blue shorts – there was enough khaki to make
uniforms for only the highest officers – is still skirmishing with
Jap mercenaries around Akyab.

1,000 Massacred

Omra Meah told me that Japs and Thakin hooligans in the

Akyab district began to “play hell and havoc” with the
Muslims and their property as soon the British had
withdrawn. The civil administration, including police, had left
Arakan last March 30. By May 1, I was told, at least 1000
Moslems have been massacred by Thakins.

[Of course Omra Meah neglected to say anything about the 30,000
or so, Buddhists killed in May, consNtuNng the only true qualifying
genocide in Burmese contemporary history]

The Japs’ jackal allies had looted seven towns, burned many
villages, slaughtered the inhabitants, and were pressing on
toward Maungdaw when the Moslems seized the town and
on May 15 formed a war council to hit back at their enemies.

They named Nur Ahmed Ba Failed, bearded head clerk of
the district court, as their general, and with 15 rifles and a
supply of bamboo sticks he began training his army of 300
men while the council recruited a police force and extended
its control over the Moslems of northern Arakan.

War Proclaimed

Meanwhile, 100 Japanese-led Thakins, who had fought for

the Japanese with the Burmese quisling army, and 2000
other traitors who had joined them, had established
themselves at Buthidaung, where they were ravaging the
countryside and leaving paths of death and destruction.

On June 15, the Moslems decided there was no alternative

but to give battle. That night while excited mobs milled in
narrow streets, the Moslem war council issued its
proclamation of war. “On information received from the
Moslem inhabitants of Buthidaung,” it said, “as to the high-
handedness, ill treatment, and murderous assault upon them
the council deems it expedient to wage war against the
Thakin party at Buthidaung and put an end to their
barbarous and inhumane acts.”

Mob Surprised

The following morning, Nur Ahmed, carrying one of the

Moslem army’s two tommyguns under his arm and wearing
khaki shorts and shirt, led his force of 300 soldiers, 30
policemen, and 3000 volunteers out of Maungdaw. The
Moslems arms included swords, spears, lathis, bows and
arrows with a few rifles and shotguns. They knew the enemy
had more rifles and light 25-bore machineguns given them
by the Japanese. But the Moslems with the blood of Arab
adventurers thick in their veins, quickened their pace as they
saw the smoke of burning villages curling into the sky.

At Letwaidet, they surprised, they surprised a mob of

Thakins burning a village. Again they heard the story they
had already heard many times before – the story of
unharmed men being put to the sword, their women
attacked and their children drowned or incinerated as they
crouched fear- stricken in their burning homes.

[Note: Letwaidet is a large Bengali Muslim village at the boQom of the Mayu mountains, on the track
to Buthidaung. It had the infamy of tricking and slaughtering groups of Buddhists escaping the horrors
of the massacres in Maungdaw, climbing up and over the Mayu mountains, and having to pass
through Letwaidet on the way to Buthidaung. The Muslims of Letwaidet had just killed hundreds, if
not thousands, in the previous several months, so if their village was finally being burned it was
because of their savage cruelty.]
A few hours later a pink mass on a hilltop, they saw the
main force of the Thakins in blue shirts and shorts on
another hill a mile away. Yelling, with the sun glittering on
their brandished weapons, the Moslems raced down to
meet the enemy. The battle which followed lasted five days,
mainly because the Thakin had a machinegun mounted to
command the approach to the town which was protected
from the rear by the broad, swift-flowing Mayu River. But
the Moslems got the machinegun in the end when sharp-
shooters crawled around it and fired on the Thakins, who
manned it, from all directions.

The machine gun was their first spoils of war and with it the
Moslems sent the enemy fleeing from the battlefield and
swept on into Buthidaung. The victory cost the Muslims 19
men and the Thakins lost several hundred dead and 700 of
their women and children drowned when an overloaded
launch in which they were being evacuated capsized.

Japanese Departed

Immediately after the occupation of Buthidaung, a strong

detachment of Moslems hurried on to Thegan, where it was
reported the Thakin were murdering Muslims in surrounding villages. Thegan also was
captured after heavy casualties had been inflicted on the Burmese traitors.

While the Thegan forces was absent with the army’s guns and rifles, two Japanese officers
and 14 men came up the river from Akyab to Buthidaung in two launches. They opened fire
with machineguns mounted on the boats and killed a number of persons, most of them
unarmed Moslems, who attempted to prevent them from landing.

The officers, one of whom was second in command of the Japanese forces at Akyab, then
tried to win over the Moslems still in Buthidaung, and when his advances received a cold
reception the Japanese loaded everything of value they could find in their launches and
departed without harming the Moslems further.

[Note: When reporter Mundy got there in Arakan, during all of that WW there were essenNally no
Buddhist villagers or townspeople there anymore. A huge number - around 30,000 - were slaughtered,
and all other Buddhists escaped into Kyauktaw, Myebon, Minbyar, Myohaung, or the refugee camps in
BriNsh India, such as Dinajpur. So, Mundy heard the Bengali Muslim narraNve only.]

By Rick Heizman, June 28, 2019

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