Myanmar police on Wednesday arrested a man in the stoning death of a Rohingya Muslim during an attack by a mob of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe earlier this month, the district police chief said.
The mob threw bricks at a group of Rohingya men and attacked a vehicle in which they were traveling in the Buddhist-majority Ywar Gyi Mrauk neighborhood on July 4, killing 55-year-old Maung Nu, also known as Monir Ahmad. Six other Rohingya were injured.
“We have been questioning many people,” said Sittwe district police chief Lieutenant Colonel Win Naung. “I can’t remember the number of people we have questioned, but we’ve arrested one so far.”
He gave no further details about the man who was arrested.
Win Naung also said authorities will take action against the police officers and others who escorted the Rohingya to Ywar Gyi Mrauk for breaking rules by transporting them so they could buy a boat.
Those who were attacked were among 10 Rohingya who had received permission to leave the Dapaing internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on the city’s outskirts to give statements at a criminal case in a Sittwe court, Myanmar state media reported at the time.
During a break in the trial, seven of the men asked police to escort them to a nearby dock where they discussed buying a boat from a local businessman.
An argument broke out on the boat jetty, attracting the attention of local residents who then attacked the men, state media said.
A police escort, who was not carrying a weapon, was unable to stop the angry mob from hurling bricks at the men, and he fled the scene unharmed, the online journal The Irrawaddy reported.
The men are among the 120,000 Rohingya who live in IDP camps in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where they were placed after deadly communal violence with Buddhists in 2012.
The Myanmar government considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, though many have lived in the country for generations, and denies them citizenship and access to basic services.
About and 90,000 Rohingya in the northern part of Rakhine state fled to Bangladesh last year during a crackdown in which security forces reportedly committed indiscriminate killings, torture, arson, and rape.
The four-month operation was put in place after deadly attacks on three local border guard stations later blamed on an obscure group of Rohingya militants.
Though the crackdown ended in February, authorities recently put government soldiers and border guard police patrolling the area on high alert in the wake of a series of disappearances, murders, and other attacks on security forces.
Reported by Min Thein Aung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.