» 10/26/2012, 00.00
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.
(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Interethnic clashes between majority Buddhists and
minority Rohingya Muslims have caused the death of more than 100 people in
Rakhine, a state in western Myanmar on the border with Bangladesh, this
according to official government sources. The authorities are now concerned
that the strife could harm the country's reputation, undermining the peace
process and democratisation. In view of this, President Thein Sein warned that
the military and police would act to restore peace by force if necessary.
spokesman Win Myaing said 112 people died in clashes that began Sunday between Buddhist
Rakhinese and the Muslim Rohingya, with 72 people reportedly injured, including
10 children. Earlier, the authorities had announced that almost 2,000 homes had
been burnt down during the violence. As a result, they imposed a dusk-to-dawn
Parts of the
state have been under a state of emergency since 10 June. Matters could still get
worse. Until yesterday, the official number of victims was low according to the
media because of delays by local officials in making public the real figures.
In a strongly
worded statement, Myanmar President's Office warned that manipulators responsible
for the recent sectarian clashes in Rakhine state would be exposed. Because of
Muslims have cancelled celebrations for the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).
The situation is
undermining Myanmar's international image, the president said. For this reason,
"The army, police, and authorities in cooperation with local people will try to
restore peace and stability and will take legal action against any individual
or organisation that is trying to instigate the unrest".
Back in June,
the District Court in Kyaukphyu (Rakhine) imposed the death sentence on three
Muslims for the rape and murder in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Rakhinese
woman. The decision sparked sectarian
violence between Muslims and Buddhists. In the days following the
trial, an angry mob attacked Muslims unconnected with the incident, killing ten.
As hatred spiralled
out of control, 29 more people, 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists, were killed.
According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were also set on fire,
whilst hundreds of Rohingya sought refuge abroad.
According to United
Nations estimates, Myanmar is home to 800,000 Rohingya. But the government does
not count them as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups and denies them
Bangladesh treats as illegal immigrants with no citizenship rights, to be
expelled whenever they try to land on its beaches.
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Aung San Suu Kyi says she was “firm with the military before” and still is
Myanmar’s democratic leader rejects the accusation that she’s gone “soft”. World figures have criticised her for her silence over the Rohingya. Her party always sought “national reconciliation”. Relations with the powerful military remain an issue. Under the constitution Aung San Suu Kyi cannot play a role in security matters. She sees a solution to the Rohingya crisis with the international community.
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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.
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Theme studied during symposium jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Tracing the commitment of Churches amid rising hostility towards others, considered as enemies and foreigners. "Migrants" are an important political theme in Germany and in UK Brexit. Testimonies from Latin America and Africa. Asian experiences entrusted to the director of AsiaNews.
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