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‘Near total destruction’ of Myanmar City’s Muslim Quarter

28 October 2012 General 5 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Fears for thousands after ‘near total destruction’ of Myanmar city’s Muslim quarter

(Reuters via. NBC)

SITTWE, Myanmar – A human rights group expressed concern for the safety of thousands of Muslims on Saturday after revealing satellite images of a once-thriving coastal community reduced to ashes during a week of violence in western Myanmar.

The images released by the New York-based Human Rights Watch show “near total destruction” of a predominantly Rohingya Muslim part of Kyaukpyu, one of several areas in Rakhine state where battles between Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists threaten to derail the former Burma’s fragile democratic transition.

More than 811 buildings and houseboats were razed in Kyaukpyu on Oct. 24, forcing many Rohingya to flee north by sea toward the state capital Sittwe, Human Rights Watch said.

“Burma’s [Myanmar’s] government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan (Rakhine) State, who are under vicious attack,” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy Asia director, said.

There were widespread unconfirmed reports of boatloads of Rohingyas trying to cross the sea border to neighboring Bangladesh, which has denied them refugee status since 1992.

No food, no water
Rohingyas in dozens of packed boats with no food or water that have fled Kyaukpyu — an industrial zone important to China — and other recent hotspots were seeking access on Friday to overcrowded refugee camps around the state capital Sittwe, according to four Rohingya refugee sources.

Some boats were blocked by security forces from reaching the shore and few Rohingyas managed to reach the camps, the sources said by telephone.

Wan-lark foundation, an organization that has been assisting Rakhine Buddhist refugees, said no clashes in the state had been reported to them since Friday night, but dead bodies of Rakhines had been found.

“Around 6pm last night in Kyawtyaw, the bodies of 16 Rakhines were found in the sea. They had died during the attacks on Thursday. We’re looking for more bodies,” representative Tun Mein Thein said on Saturday.

The chaos suggests the reformist government is struggling to contain historic ethnic and religious tensions suppressed during nearly a half century of military rule that ended last year.

Myanmar government ends direct media censorship

A Rakhine government spokesman put the death toll at 112 as of Friday. But within hours state media revised it to 67 killed from Oct. 21 to 25, with 95 wounded and nearly 3,000 houses destroyed.

The death toll could be far higher, said Human Rights Watch, citing “allegations from witnesses fleeing scenes of carnage and the government’s well-documented history of underestimating figures that might lead to criticism of the state.”

The clashes come just five months after communal unrest killed more than 80 people and displaced at least 75,000 in the same region.

‘Ethnic cleansing’
A boat carrying 120 Muslims from Kyaukpyu was intercepted by Rakhines, who killed the men and raped the women, the advocacy group Burmese Rohingya Organisation U.K. claimed in a statement. This report could not be verified, Reuters said.

“Ethnic cleansing is happening under the noses of the international community and they are doing nothing,” said Tun Khin, the group’s president. “We have confirmed reports that hundreds of people have been killed and the government must be aware of that.”

Ease sanctions on Myanmar, Democracy leader Suu Kyi says on US tour

Kyaukpyu is crucial to China’s most strategic investment in Myanmar: Twin pipelines that will carry oil and natural gas through the town on the Bay of Bengal to China’s energy-hungry western provinces.

The United Nations has warned that Myanmar’s fledgling democracy could be “irreparably damaged” by the violence.

Rohingyas are officially stateless. Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s government regards the estimated 800,000 Rohingyas in the country as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and not as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups, and denies them citizenship.

But many of those expelled from Kyaukpyu are not Rohingya but Muslims from the officially recognized Kaman minority, said Chris Lewa, director of the Rohingya advocacy group, Arakan Project. “It’s not just anti-Rohingya violence anymore, it’s anti-Muslim,” she said.

It was unclear what set off the latest arson and killing that started on Sunday. In June, tension flared after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman that was blamed on Muslims, but there was no obvious spark this time.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International have called on Myanmar to amend or repeal a 1982 citizenship law to end the Rohingyas’ stateless condition.


  1. I like the quote:

    “Ethnic cleansing is happening under the noses of the international community and they are doing nothing,” said Tun Khin, the group’s president”

    Of course they are talking about Muslims. If you were to look at the way Pakistan is treating its Christians and the 900 families that had to move when the Imam tried to frame the Christian child and have her killed one could have made the same statement. Maybe the international community should be focusing on Ethnic or religious cleansing within Muslim Countries. If the Christians will simply put up houses and businesses in the areas where the Muslims lived all traces of Muslim life will be erased. Sort of like Muslim countries that used to have Christian populations that no longer exist and whose past presence is difficult to find.

  2. @criley401. You are right to be concerned for Christian minorities, where ever they exist. One of the very oldest communities in the world has been under constant attack for the last 60 years, not with bullets per say, but with continual loss of land, encroachment on their shrines/churches, and encirclement by hostile residents who want them to leave. I am referring to the Christians of Palestine. They now number under 10%, of the total population when they used to account for almost half.

    Muslim minorities also suffer from the same hateful forces in many ‘muslim’ countries. In Saudi Arabia for example, when King Abdul Aziz came to power, his cohort was Abdel Wahab, a fundamentalist who set about destroying buildings, small mosques, that were used by the Prophet Muhammed, as they were afraid the Shia minority would worship them. His followers are now commonly referred to as Wahabbis. They, and others before them, have been responsible for the whole sale butchering of this muslim minority from one end of the world to the other.

    Hate/ignorance are so much more potent than any bomb man has yet to produce. We can begin the healing process immediately after a weapons attack, but once a mind/soul has been infected with hate, recovery is less likely, and like a virus, it spreads its poison.

    Peace to you.

  3. Mike, I understand your an atheist but the statement “. just look at the behavior of their “God”. what a bastard he is, killing innocent children.” makes little sense. If you were to theorize that there was a God and that the souls of people who died went to god after that death, then from God’s perspective, death is simply a part of life. It is a gateway to spiritual life as the flesh is abandoned. Thus for God no person truly dies in the sense that they cease to exist. Death upsets the living as they must deal with a loss or losses they can never recoup while they live. Many bad things happen in this world. There is much suffering. It is easy to ask why God allows it to happen, but when you look closely most of these problems could be solved by man or are caused by poor decision making on peoples part. People of all ages die, it has always been so and always will be. These deaths do not make God Evil or a Bastard. They affect his nature none at all. If it were not 2 in the morning I would try to flesh this out more. You’re a pretty smart person so I think you understand the gist of what I am trying to say and indeed given your statement about your parents, you already know what I am talking about.

  4. Well I do not plan to harp on this question when while I am wondering about Jane. I do not see new comments by her and the comment she wrote about the wall about a house being vandalized is no longer there.

  5. I will say the real problem began when ottoman conquered those areas and forced the traditional people who were living in these countries for thousands of years to convert to islam against they will.The original inhabitants never forgive them .Many of the countries in the middle East were originally christian countries.when the followers of muhammed conquered these places the inhabitants were forced to convert to Islam,a similar thing happened in parts of Africa,which embraced christianity before Europe. Buddism,hinduism, Judism, Christianity were around long before Islam and yet Islam is the largest religion in the world. Can anyone tell me how it happened?.It seems that the prophecy predicted in Genesis 16:12in the Bible is being fulfilled.I do not like to hear about these thing because innocent people usually suffer.I do hope that the goverment will send in troops to keep the peace and find a solution that is acceptable to both parties.All those who are interesting in the welfare of the Rohingas should pray for them.May the peace of GOD be upon all.

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