Official Arakan Death Toll Rises to 112

A victim of recent violence in Arakan State rests in a hospital bed in Kyauktaw Township with a gunshot wound to the head on Oct. 25, 2012. (PHOTO: Reuters)

At least 112 people have been killed in five days of ethnic and sectarian violence in Burma’s western Arakan State, according to a spokesperson from the State Government.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday afternoon, spokesman Win Myaing said that 51 men and 61 women were confirmed dead in six townships after mobs of Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims clashed and sought reprisals on each other’s communities.

He said that an additional 68 people have been wounded since Sunday, including 10 children. He would not elaborate, however, on how many victims were Rohingya and how many were Rakhine.

The situation is said by local residents to have returned to calm on Friday morning after several nights of mob violence and house-burning riots in the townships of Kyaukpyu, Kyauktaw, Minbyar, Mrauk-U, Pauktaw and Rathedaung.

Burmese security forces are currently patrolling the streets in those townships and a curfew has been imposed, as have restrictions on gatherings in Kyaukpyu, Minbyar and Mrauk-U townships. In Kyaukpyu, security personnel drove through the streets announcing on megaphones that gatherings of more than five persons were prohibited.

The official number of victims has increased significantly since Thursday when Arakan State authorities claimed that 56 people had been killed and about 2,000 houses burnt down.

A local resident in Kyaukpyu told The Irrawaddy that more Rohingya families in the town were forced to flee their homes on Thursday. Then, at about 6 am on Friday, some individual persons looted many of the homes and set fire to them.

“Some people are roaming around, looting the houses [of those who have fled] and then setting them on fire,” he said, adding that the presence of security forces later in the day appeared to have restored an element of calm to the town.

Township authorities in Kyaukpyu have ordered all Muslims to move to a temporary camp erected outside the town, telling them that the measure is for their own protection.

About 40 boats arrived in Sittwe on Thursday full of fleeing Rohingya families despite a state government announcement that the authorities would not allow more evacuees to enter the city.

At least 70,000 people—mostly Rohingya Muslims but also Arakanese Buddhists—have abandoned their villages in fear of reprisals and are currently seeking shelter in other locations. Many Buddhist Arakanese are reportedly sheltering in Buddhist temples, according to local sources.

Meanwhile, a member of the “Committee of the Rule of Law and Tranquility,” which is chaired by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, proposed at the Lower House in Naypyidaw on Friday morning that the situation in Arakan be discussed in Parliament. Following the debate, Parliament approved a proposal to deploy more security forces to the region.

6 Responses to Official Arakan Death Toll Rises to 112

  1. More security means more killing of people because security forces help to kill rather than giving protection. 

  2. The term ‘Rohingya’ is not a valid word to call these group of intruders from Bangladesh. A correct word on historical basis to use here is ‘Bengalis’. Incidents in Rakhine State are in fact Bengalis from Bangladesh torching down local Rakhine villages with a master plan in mind to drive away local Rakhines and ask for a muslim state on Rakhine (Myanmar) soil. A very dangerous situation for all Myanmar people. 

  3. Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudce. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.

  4. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    The political correctness has to leave behind to give a way for pragmatic and viable solution to communal riots: a designated safe are for illegal Bengali.  Not all of Bengali have lived generation after generation, but some have and that has been well recognized within the Burmese society. The suffering of Rakhine people at the hands of Bengali immigrants in their home land is completely outrageous. If government can’t protect them, they have the right to defend themselves. Isn’t it time for U Thein Sein to recall his suggested plan of segregation by designing the safe area for illegal Bengali while their due process of the status of residency in Burma is to be reviewed case by case according to appliance of the same set of rule under the immigration act of Burma. 

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  5. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    The root of the current communal riots in Burma is intolerance of that minority Bengali with their crime acts against the host majority Rakhine. Their religion leaders didn’t adhere with the principle of play by the same set of rule of the state, but their religion teaching, reasoning no law is higher than the law of their religion. These days: No one can go unnoticed more and more violence has taken place in the name of religion in the areas inhabited by a majority of Muslims in the world. Each time it happens, none of the Muslim leaders condemn the increase of radicalism in all Muslim countries with their numerous crimes. 

    Everywhere, attacks happen and suicide bombers carry out their missions in the name of Allah. And what do the leaders and imams of our Muslim communities say? “It has nothing to do with Islam.” Can we accept this lack of explanation, especially when considering that so many verses of the Koran encourage the fight against non-Muslim religions and promise Paradise to their soldiers? 

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

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