• Thursday, Aug 06, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:33 am

7 ethnic Rakhine killed as Myanmar police fire on riot

  • Published at 10:07 am January 17th, 2018
  • Last updated at 03:57 pm January 17th, 2018
7 ethnic Rakhine killed as Myanmar police fire on riot
Myanmar police said Wednesday they opened fire on a crowd of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as they tried to seize a government office, in unrest that left seven dead in a state already scored by violence and bitter divisions. The incident unfurled as around 5,000 Buddhists gathered late Tuesday for a nationalist ceremony in Mrauk U, a town that has so far remained unscathed by the military's crackdown on the region's minority Rohingya Muslim community. It was not immediately clear why the rally descended into violence. But ethnic Rakhine, many of whom are poor and marginalised, have a long-standing enmity with the Myanmar state which is dominated by ethnic Bamar. The clashes also came on the same day as a repatriation agreement was signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh to start the return of some 655,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees from squalid camps back over the border. The ethnic Rakhine revile the Rohingya, who they decry as illegal "Bengali" immigrants to a Buddhist land. A police spokesman blamed the crowd for "starting the violence" by throwing stones and barging into a district administrative office and hoisting the Rakhine State flag. "Security forces asked them to disperse and fired warning shots with rubber bullets... but they didn't stop, so police had to use real bullets," spokesman Colonel Myo Soe told AFP. "Seven people were killed and 13 injured," he said adding more than 20 police were wounded by the crowd, who were calling for the "sovereignty of Rakhine state." "The situation is under control now. Security is being deployed in the town at this moment," the police spokesman said. A hospital in the nearby state capital of Sittwe said it was treating six of the wounded who arrived early Wednesday. "Five of them had gunshot wounds while another looked to have been beaten," Dr Khing Maung Than, of Sittwe hospital told AFP.

Communal hatreds

Mrauk U, home to an ancient Buddhist complex of the last Rakhine kingdom, lies a few dozen kilometres from the epicentre of violence that saw Rohingya driven in their hundreds of thousands into Bangladesh since last August. The military led a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya after militants attacks against border posts killed around a dozen police. Security forces, backed by hardline Buddhist nationalist mobs, torched hundreds of Rohingya villages, forcing their residents to flee. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh have brought with them consistent testimony of murder, rape and arson in the violence justified by the army as a legitimate response to the militant attacks. Already shredded by communal hatreds, Rakhine state also has a Buddhist rebel group called the Arakan Army which is fighting Myanmar's army. The clashes garner little attention in a state dominated by violence against the Rohingya and in a country where several larger ethnic insurgencies are burning. Observers warned Tuesday's violence could open a new chapter of unrest in the febrile state. "I think there will be a risk for spillover into intercommunal violence," independent analyst Gabrielle Aron said. "The degree of risk will depend partly on how well or poorly security forces are seen to respond to the events of last night," she said, adding the situation "could deteriorate".
50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail