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  • » 06/13/2012, 00.00

    MYANMAR - BANGLADESH

    As Dhaka turns away a thousand Burmese Rohingya, Sittwe is patrolled by soldiers



    Bangladesh prevented a thousand refugees on three boats from landing. In previous days, an additional 500 were sent back to Myanmar. Security forces patrol the streets of the capital of Rakhine State, scene of Buddhist-Muslim clashes. Apparent calm could turn violent again.

    Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Bangladesh turned away three big boats carrying about 1,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in the Myanmar state of Rakhine, scene of sectarian violence between the Muslim minority and Buddhists. The attempt to land was made yesterday but Bangladeshi authorities sent back the would-be refugees. They did the same a few days ago with another 500. Meanwhile, soldiers and police patrol the city of Sittwe in Myanmar where President Thein Sein imposed a curfew to prevent sectarian clashes that have so far 23 claimed lives. Local witnesses said that at present is relatively calm, but could reignite easily.

    "They [the boats] have been chased away," police official Jahangir Alam said by phone on Saint Martin's, an island in the Bay of Bengal. "We are keeping our eyes open so that nobody can enter Bangladesh illegally."

    Later, the authorities, using loudspeakers, called on islanders to be vigilant to prevent Rohingya Muslims from entering the country.

    Altogether, Bangladesh stopped some 1,500 Muslim refugees from Myanmar; 500 of them were found in 11 boats that were intercepted a few days ago off the Bangladeshi coast.

    In Myanmar, the authorities have deployed soldiers in the streets of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State. Using loudspeakers, soldiers went street to street warning residents that "zero tolerance" would be enforced on anyone found with weapons or caught in the act of burning buildings.

    So far, state media have reported 21 deaths and an equal number of wounded as well as almost 1,700 buildings set on fire.

    An apparent calm has come to the city but almost all stores are closed and few people can be seen in the streets or in public places.

    Violence broke out in late May when a Buddhist woman was raped and killed. An angry crowd blamed Muslims and attacked a bus carrying Muslim passengers, killing ten.

    Sittwe, the state capital of Rakhine, is under the control of security forces. As an important trading hub, the city is the point of origin for oil and gas pipelines being built by China National Petroleum Corp that stretch to Yunnan province.

    With its 135 or more ethnic groups, Myanmar has always had difficulties in having them live together. In the past, the country's military junta used an iron fist against the more rebellious of them.

    Muslims constitute 4 per cent of Myanmar's 60 million people. Rohingya number 750,000 according to UN figures, mostly in Rakhine state. Another million or so are divided between Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia.

    Yesterday's state of emergency is the first exceptional measure taken by Thein Sein. Since he became president more than a year ago, he has been trying to move the country from a military dictatorship to limited democracy.

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    See also

    07/09/2017 14:52:00 MYANMAR
    Myanmar seeking Russian and Chinese support to block UN resolution on Rakhine

    Negotiations are underway with the two permanent members of the Security Council. For Myanmar National Security Adviser Thaung Tun, the issue will not go forward. Government rejects allegations of ethnic cleansing, complaining of "disinformation". Rohingya militants set fire to 59 villages. More than 26,000 tribal escaped from Rakhine.



    26/10/2012 MYANMAR
    Rakhine: More than 100 dead in clashes between ethnic Burmese and Rohingya
    Fighting between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims restarted on Sunday. So far, in addition to the dead, 72 people have been injured and some 2,000 homes set on fire. Myanmar president rails against manipulators who are behind the violence, pledges action by the military and the authorities to restore stability. Bangladesh tightens controls to stop refugees from reaching its coasts.

    22/01/2014 MYANMAR
    For Archbishop of Yangon, marriage, conversion and the vote are inviolable human rights
    Archbishop Bo stresses the importance of civil rights, the basis of a democratic society. Marriage must be free from coercion and open to people of different faiths. The right to convert and the right of the religious leaders, be they Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu, to vote are equally crucial. An interfaith meeting was recently held in Yangon on the topic of 'social harmony'.

    25/09/2017 17:39:00 MYANMAR
    Rakhine: Military accuse Rohingya for mass grave with 28 dead Hindus

    The bodies of 20 women and eight men, including six boys under 10, were found. For the military, they were “cruelly and violently killed by ARSA extremist Bengali terrorists. About 30,000 displaced Hindus and Buddhists are in refugee camps. They say the United Nations and foreign organisations help only Rohingya Muslims. The exodus towards Bangladesh has slowed down, but thousands are still stuck in Myanmar.



    28/09/2017 15:41:00 MYANMAR
    Rohingya militants deny killing Hindus in Rakhine, reject “victim-blaming”

    ARSA denies that its members "perpetrated murder, sexual violence, or forcible recruitment". Residents in the Hindu village of Ye Baw Kya say more than a hundred people have been killed, including 48 who are missing. Women forced to convert and marry. More than 400 Rohingya villages have been burnt.  The Myanmar government plans to oversee reconstruction. UN agencies allowed to visit Rakhine.





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