Dozens of Buddhist families from Bangladesh have settled in Maungdaw town over the past week, according to our correspondent in the area.

Sources from the Bangladeshi side of the border have confirmed that Rakhine Buddhists from the remote Bangladeshi hill area of Alikadam have made this journey over this week.

The exact figures are not yet known, but the flow of Rakhine Buddhists to the Maungdaw area have increased since 2017 following the almost complete expulsion of the Rohingya community.

Agents from the Rakhine community loyal to the Burmese military have long been involved in luring Buddhists from Bangladesh to Myanmar. The Bangladeshi Buddhists are resettled on land that formerly belonged to Rohingya Muslims.

The Rakhine community in the area is impoverished and besides land, they are being given assets like livestock and poultry. A steady flow of Bangladeshi Buddhists have thus always continued. However, this week’s arrival is much larger, spreading panic among the local Muslim community in Maungdaw town.

Many Bangladeshi Rakhines have actively been involved in anti Muslim nationalist groups, while many others have lent active support to the rebel group Arakan Army which is fighting against the Burmese government.