Fresh Violence in Rakhine

Three people are killed in rioting between Rohingyas and Rakhines in western Burma.
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Rohingyas stand outside a tent at a displaced persons' camp in the outskirts of Sittwe, Oct. 10, 2012.
Rohingyas stand outside a tent at a displaced persons' camp in the outskirts of Sittwe, Oct. 10, 2012.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. on 2012-10-23

Three people have been killed and hundreds of houses torched in renewed violence between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhist Rakhines in western Burma, where authorities have declared a state of emergency in two restive townships, officials said Monday.

The riots erupted late Sunday in Rakhine state capital Sittwe’s Minbya and Mrauk U townships, in the first major violence between the two communities since deadly clashes rocked the state in June.

Rakhine state authorities said three people were confirmed dead and 300 homes razed by fires in the rioting, which broke out around 10:00 p.m. in Mrauk U’s Paik village and continued overnight.

"The bodies of two Muslim women and one Rakhine man have been found,” the state’s Attorney General Hla Thein told RFA’s Burmese service.

“Around 300 houses—which were small thatched roof houses—were destroyed,” he said.

The townships have been placed under a state of emergency in an apparent bid to contain the violence and officials have been ordered to call in the military if the unrest escalates.

“All local administrative officials are ordered to request assistance from the military if the situation in their areas gets out of hand,” Hla Thein said.

“Two ministers from Rakhine state have been sent to the affected areas to meet with security officials and the local public to control the situation,” he said.

The townships were among those spared curfews during the Rakhine-wide state of emergency that was declared in June amid the worst fighting in years between Rohingyas and Rakhines.

International rights groups have said Rohingyas bore the brunt of the June violence, which left more than 80 dead and tens of thousands displaced.


The fresh clashes in Rakhine on Sunday followed weeks of demonstrations against Muslim states’ wanting to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya in the wake of the summer violence.

The demonstrations were sparked by plans by the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to open an office in Rakhine state in a bid to provide aid to Rohingyas reeling from the violence.

Thousands of Buddhist monks and laypeople have demonstrated against the OIC in cities across the country, where the Rohingya are considered outsiders even though they have lived in the country for generations.

But at a press conference on Sunday, Burmese President Thein Sein that the country has no choice but to welcome aid for the Rohingya, or else it will face an international backlash.

"We need humanitarian assistance. If we reject the humanitarian assistance, the international community will not accept us," he told reporters at a press conference.

"Regarding the OIC, I do not differentiate between religions or ethnicities. They want to give humanitarian assistance and also they have given some," he said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Rakhines form the majority in Rakhine state, which is also home to some 800,000 Rohingyas.

The U.N. has called the Rohingya a stateless people and one of the most persecuted groups in the world.

Reported by RFA’s Burmese service. Translated by Win Naing. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred to Hla Thein as Rakhine state's chief justice. He is the state's attorney general.

Comments (6)


I am begging to Mr. President U Thein Sein!
Please stop killing innocent people( both Rakine & Rohinger..... U can save lots of people's life ...u are able.. U have power... I want u to go to Haven! Life is too short & we have very limited time to do good deeds for after-life...Bring peace for simple innocent ordinary people.......PLEASE!

Oct 25, 2012 08:53 AM

Anonymous Reader

BBC Burmese is the fascist media spreading anti-Muslim propaganda. BBC main service provide different viewpoints on the issue. Burmese government is the mastermind behind all of those violence. They have always been using religion and race as political weapons for dividing and conquering.

Oct 24, 2012 01:18 PM

Anonymous Reader

from Kuala Lumpur

BBC, VOA and RFA news are not satisfactory enough for me to hear. When the news ends that the Muslim people in Myanmar are all finished and no more then the media is useful for me. But you people must think before let the world know as cheated news.

Oct 23, 2012 07:58 AM


All international organization like UN, NATO, ASEAN and OIC etc have must condemn and save the innocent lives. This riot had started on 3rd June when Buddhist extremist had killed 10 non Rohingya Muslims in reply of a murder of Buddhist girl in Arakan. Till now it is almost 4.5 months and no positive action has been taken in order to overcome the violence in Arakan.
If you all organization failed to do this then don't blame to any other organization whom will struggle (Jihad) for freedom either Rohingya himself or other Muslims from neighboring countries.
If you people (UN, NATO, ASEAN and OIC etc. etc.) let it happen as it is happening then all modern and educated people of the world will explicitly understand that actually you kind of organizations make extremist human in the world for only your personal benefits.

Oct 23, 2012 03:12 AM

Aung Aung

State emergency is only for Muslim, Muslims are tied up in order to kill and burn by Rakhine Buddhists. Buddhism doesn't need to respect justice.

Oct 22, 2012 11:37 PM

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