Burmese in Deadly Brawl in Indonesia

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Indonesian police investigate the scene of the brawl between Buddhist and Muslim detainees from Burma at the immigration center in North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.
Indonesian police investigate the scene of the brawl between Buddhist and Muslim detainees from Burma at the immigration center in North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.

Clashes erupted Friday among Burmese detainees held at an immigration center in Indonesia, leaving eight Buddhists dead and 15 Muslims injured, according to reports.

The fight at the detention center near Medan city in North Sumatra was sparked after Muslim Rohingya refugees saw photos of wreckage from last month’s communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in central Burma, officials said.

More than 100 Rohingyas—most of whom had fled Burma by boat and been intercepted off the Indonesian coast—and 11 Buddhists accused of illegal fishing were housed together at the center.  

Detention center chief Yusuf Umardani told the Associated Press a Muslim cleric was attacked by one of the Buddhists while arguing about clashes in central Burma, where at least 43 people died and some 1,300 buildings were destroyed including 37 mosques.

Many of the attacks were led by armed Buddhist mobs against Muslim communities.

Following the attack on the cleric at the detention center, other Rohingyas jumped to his defense and the two sides fought with knives and weapons fashioned from furniture in the detention center, he said.

The eight Buddhists were beaten to death, while three others escaped unharmed and have been moved to a separate building, a local police chief told the news agency.   

A police spokesman said 18 Rohingya detainees have been named as suspects.


The UN Refugee Agency issued a statement saying it was saddened by news of the deaths.

"UNHCR is calling for calm among the groups and urging the Indonesian authorities to take action to prevent further violence, including moving individuals into community housing as soon as possible," it said.

The recent clashes in Burma that provoked the fight were the worst since clashes between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas in western Burma’s Rakhine state last year left scores dead and more than 100,000—mostly Rohingyas—displaced.

Thousands of Rohingyas, described by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, have fled Rakhine state since last year’s violence, taking treacherous sea journeys to seek asylum overseas.

On the same day as the fight at the detention center in North Sumatra, Indonesian authorities in Surabaya city, East Java province, arrested 35 Rohingyas for not having valid immigration documents, Agence France-Presse reported.

The group of Rohingyas, which included 12 children, had planned to make a sea crossing to Australia to seek asylum there, it said.

Reported by RFA’s Burmese Service. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

Comments (4)


Nobody wants this kind of reaction but sometimes that is unavoidable. All extremist should think before acting. Extremists are selfish regardless of their religious belief.

Apr 07, 2013 12:28 AM


Does the Quran say to kill non-muslims?
Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Qur’an:9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s Cause, they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”
Qur’an:9:29 “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission.”

Apr 06, 2013 12:42 AM

I will tell the real truth.

Why Muslim terrorist Mobs killed Burmese Buddhists in immigration center in Indonesia COWARDLY brutally? I will tell the real truth. How can we respect a religion (Islam) that condones brutality for any reason.
I can tell you Muslim is worst peoples who follow worst fictitious Islam religion in the world if you’re trying to portray as bad peoples to Buddhist Burmese.

Apr 06, 2013 12:37 AM

mr Truth

The problem - What is wrong with the Islamic world? Why are Muslims causing so many problems!?
The Muslim terrorists mobs murdered a Buddhist monk at a mosque and burned him ALIVE. It was not started by religion. please stop BIASED (side over another). When MONEY speaks, the TRUTH keeps silent. Stop the Fighting , Love is patient, love is kind.

Apr 05, 2013 10:39 PM





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