Seven Involved in Attack on Muslims in Myanmar's Magwe Still in Hiding

2017-10-02
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A mob gathers outside a mosque in Myanmar's Taungdwingyi township, Sept. 10, 2017.
A mob gathers outside a mosque in Myanmar's Taungdwingyi township, Sept. 10, 2017.
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Seven people suspected of involvement in a violent mob attack last month on Muslims in Taungdwingyi township are still in hiding, a lawmaker from the area central Myanmar’s Magwe region said Monday.

A mob of Buddhists, which eventually grew to as many as 70 people, attacked a Muslim butcher’s home in the township and then marched on a local mosque before being dispersed by police who fired rubber bullets into the crowd.

Other houses, shops, and stands were also damaged by the mob, whose actions were observed by about 400 bystanders.

Member of Parliament Zaw Min Tun said that police have already questioned seven suspects, and from them learned about seven others.

“One of the questioned suspects had contact with three of those in hiding,” he said. “And then the other six questioned had contact with another four persons. When police tried to contact them, they had already escaped.”

The local government has disbursed 8 million kyats (U.S. $5,750) to residents whose property was damaged during the violence.

At the time, local media sources quoted an attacker as saying that the crowd had taken action because they were enraged over communal violence and terrorists attacks involving Rohingya Muslim militants in northern Rakhine state.

A Myanmar army counteroffensive in response to deadly attacks on police outposts and an army base by a militant Muslim group on Aug. 25 triggered the communal violence that drove more than 500,000 Rohingya from their villages across the border to Bangladesh.

Thousands of ethnic Rakhine, Myo, and Hindu refugees also fled their villages in northern Rakhine, claiming that militant Muslims attacked them and drove them out.

The same day as the Taungdwingyi township riot, police arrested Hnin Ko Ko Lin, who admitted to attacking the houses, and the following day apprehended four others — Soe Thu, 33; Thein Zan Htay, 22; Naing Aung Htet, 27; and Sithu Aung, 18 — according to a report by Democratic Voice of Burma.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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