Thandwe ‘Stable’ After Anti-Muslim Attack: Official

Burmese security forces patrol downtown Sittwe during inter-communal unrest in June last year. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Government security forces have stabilized the situation in Thandwe after an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence destroyed four homes in the town in southern Arakan State on Sunday, a local official said. He added that one Muslim man was arrested for an alleged rape case that sparked the unrest.

Zaw Moe Aung, an official at Thandwe Township’s department for information and public relations, said three Muslim-owned homes were torched and another destroyed on Sunday night, while several cars were damaged.

“The situation is more stable now, and all shops and schools are open as usual. Security forces have been deployed in the town,” he said on Monday afternoon, adding that a curfew had been imposed.

Zaw Moe Aung said that authorities were investigating the violence but had yet to make any arrests.

He said reports of the alleged rape of a 18-year-old Buddhist woman by a Muslim man named Min Naing, 29, had caused the unrest on Sunday night. “We have detained one person who allegedly raped the woman. He was a motorbike taxi driver and he is Kaman, a Muslim man,” the official said.

Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut said in a Facebook post on Monday morning that “a man of another religion” had been charged with raping the woman.

After reports of the supposed incident spread through Thandwe, a group of around 50 people gathered at the local police station and then went on to destroy two homes at around 7 pm, Ye Htut said. “The Myanmar police force is working to find the offenders and take action in accordance with the law,” he added.

A Muslim inhabitant of Thandwe said that a Buddhist mob people had burned down three homes and destroyed five others in Dwarawaddy quarter No. 1, while shouting “Kill all the Muslims!”

The situation in the town remained tense on Monday, many shops remained closed and the streets were largely empty, he said, adding that local Muslims were seeking permission from authorities to retrieve their possessions from the destroyed homes before they are looted.

The Muslim community feared another mob attack might occur tonight, the man said. “We are worried that if violence breaks out, we will be trapped in the town,” he told The Irrawaddy by phone. “If the authorities can control the situation then there will be no violence.”

Thein San, a local Arakanese Buddhist, said the Buddhist community was angered by the supposed rape. “We want to have justice in this case. The authorities should act as soon as they can,” he said.

Shwe Maung, a lawmaker for the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party who represents Arakan’s Buthidaung Township, said that authorities should decisively quell any further violence.

On Sunday night, he said, security forces had failed to act. “There are questions as to why did not arrest those [attackers], or why did not shoot in the air to break up the unrest, it seems they have no methods to end such unrest,” Shwe Maung said.

An estimated 130,000 people live in Thandwe, a coastal town in southern Arakan State, and about a fifth of the population in Muslim, according to Zaw Moe Aung. The town has an airport and is located close to the popular beach resort Ngapali.

The Muslim population of Thandwe comprises mostly Kaman and other recognized Muslim minorities, unlike in northern Arakan State, which has a large Muslim population who identify themselves as Rohingyas. The latter group is not recognized by the government as Burmese citizens.

Thandwe Township was largely spared from the bloody inter-communal violence that broke out in Sittwe, Maungdaw and other townships further north one year ago, where Arakanese Buddhists clashed with Rohingya Muslims.

The violence left 192 people dead and about 140,000 people, mostly Muslims, were displaced, according to UN and government figures. Almost half of the displaced are Muslims who were chased out Sittwe town, where whole Muslim neighborhoods were burned down.

Arakan State authorities and Burma’s central government have been accused of supporting the Buddhist mob attacks on Muslim minorities and of doing little to prosecute the Buddhist perpetrators of the violence.


10 Responses to Thandwe ‘Stable’ After Anti-Muslim Attack: Official

  1. You named the rape victim?! Irresponsible reporting at the highest level.

  2. In Thandwe never ever happen communal violence. Due to instigation by RNDP party now all over the Arakan violence is go to be spread. Most of the RNDP leadeship members are from Bangladesh Ahwakyun obtained Myanmar nationality during the General Ne Win and Khin Nyunt era. These peoples are the descendant of those Arakanese run way from Arakan Mrauk-Oo period when Bodawphyar Burmese king invaded Arakan. They were born in India East Bangol before the partition of India and Pakistan. They were called Mughs or Anaukthar.
    Their relative are living now in Bangladesh Ahwakyun and Cox Bazzar. After the arrival of these Mughs, Arakan is creating day by day communal conflicts and violence. Some of the group from Myanmar government side also cooperating with them for the sake of same faith.

  3. What happened in Thandwe should not have happened at all. Blatantly obvious of the failure of the government ot protect the Muslims

  4. This is a very worrisome development, that is majority buddhist vs minority muslim where the latter only formed up 4 percent of the population. The animosity and distrust with each other had been so deeply entrenched since colonial time. Dont expect any near-term solutions to these impasses.

  5. Oh! The Authority wants someone to complain to make a case for rioters who burned down Muslims houses. But alleged Muslims who is accused for rape will get severe punishment. If a Muslim dare to complain, he will get very nasty treatment from Police force and his house will be next target to be burned. So this is the justice for Muslims can expect from Burmese extremists Govt. They are trying to deceive the world. But this is not the stone age period to fool the people. Similar scenario was happened when 10 Muslims were brutally killed and authority could not find witness. Time will come one day for Muslims. God sees the truth but waits.

  6. Another fanatic attempt to exercise iron hand over innocent Muslims in the Burma. Always they are fabricating stories before legitimizing violence. In Rakhine province they said Muslims killed and raped a Buddhist women. In meikhtila they said a Muslim businessman misbehaved with a Buddhist couple. In sittwe another Muslim man bargaining for a one hand fist amount of rice and now another story of rape. What a fun! Every-time we saw the Muslim criminal but there were no any victim ever seen on public. Although wirathu gang sees the victim with the eyes of Buddha! Even if a Muslim man raped,isn’t there any holy Buddhist rapist in Burma. Isn’t there a single rape history in Burma where a Buddhist man had been charged. So what did the justice-hungry Buddhists do? Why didn’t they burn down the homes and properties of Buddhist rapist. I don’t know if the Buddhist males are released from charge because after all their holy religion and holy monks can declare the Buddhist man’s rape as a sanctity.

  7. U Maung Gyi is totally right above , the story is a fake , switched by a prominent Thandwe businessman ,ironically his mother is Muslim and his father Buddhist but had best relation ship with MI Rakhine. Every one knows that since 1.7.2013 that he switched the story to rape/,- yes “1man army “remember the Buddhist Monk from Pyin Oo Lwin which was caught having sex with a minor boy – there will be no difference to Christian Church and Rome.
    Just consider there is no and was no Girl raped in the Thandwe Hospital, but that there was a semi prostitute ( which you would not call one of a one night stand in the west but in Myanmar ),- such girl on the way from Gwa to Taunguk home town takes a a ride with a truck driver and spend the night with him in Andaw quarter of Thandwe ,- next night she spend a night with his friend but against payment – next morning there is an argument about the payment which gets bigger.- all of a sudden a big well known Businessman from Thandwe switches the story and call many many people to get the blood boiling as we learned from Mandalay monks. The than quick from all villages arranged mob and very well known organizers for such issues and riots are on the way. Lucky the mob from Kaytwaw,Myabin was stopped at 55 regiment otherwise it would have been a very bloody 30.6. night in Thandwe. 1.7. attackers again and even attacked the Police in Andaw which is under Alodawepye Seyadaw but has around 20 Muslime Families Kaman all. Only when the Army came in with three rounds shots , 1 dead and two injured it was all over.
    Question it all what Ye Htut deputy Info Minister said ,
    Bring the Businessman from Thandwe to justice and clear why he informed all and many many about such story,-
    he is guilty for any loss in Thandwe so far, the rest are just dump follower which ignore the Law.
    It is at the brink of War in Thandwe if these view mo instigators are not taken in by the Government they are all well known………

  8. Is very difficult to peace.

  9. Is very difficult to peace progress. U Thein Sein and party are afraid . Why ther afraid. Because if we get peace all people turn to their side.

  10. Now Government is going to implement new strategy to quell riots. More sophisticated force and help from foreign experts for riots. This is controlling the riots not preventing the fire before ignition.. The key of all these issues is Wirathu , his followers, Rakhine extremists and Government Thugs. They are propagating the hatred, creating the problems and helping to do so. President and Minister of Information openly support Wirathu. President praised him as son of Buddha. Wirathu in his speech said “ All Kalar ( Muslims ) must afraid Burmese Buddhists and ethnic Burmese nationals, as Kalars are guests of the country

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.