More Anti-Muslim Riots Reported Overnight

Motorcycles pass in front of a mosque that burned during the riot in Meikhtila on March 22, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Motorcycles pass in front of a mosque that burned during the riot in Meikhtila on March 22, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

RANGOON — Mobs rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods in two more townships in Pegu Division on Tuesday night, a day after similar attacks were carried out in several other communities in the same area.

The incidents, which continued into Wednesday morning, took place in Zigon and Nattalin townships, located about 100 miles (160 km) north of Rangoon. Local police confirmed that several buildings, including mosques, had been ransacked, but no casualties or cases of arson were reported.

An officer at the Nattalin Police Station told The Irrawaddy that a mob had begun attacking a mosque and buildings in Muslim neighborhood at around 10 pm on Tuesday. He added that the situation had been brought under control by 12:20 am.

However, a local resident said that the police were unable to contain the growing mob, even with the support of civilians and Buddhist monks who had gathered to defend the neighborhood. In the end, the resident said, the security forces agreed to allow the rioters to continue with their rampage after they said they would not kill anyone or burn down any buildings.

A few hours later, rioters ransacked a mosque and Muslim-owned buildings in Zigon, which lies a short distance south of Nattalin.

“The attackers destroyed 14 buildings and looted shops, but there was no arson or casualties,” said an officer at Zigon Police Station, adding that the attacks took place from 2:40 to 5:30 am on Wednesday.

“When we disbanded them, the attackers ran away, gathered in another place and tried to attack another area. It was like a hit-and-run scenario,” he said.

On Monday night and Tuesday morning, mobs attacked Muslim neighborhoods in the townships of Okpho and Gyobingauk, located more than 100 miles north of Rangoon in Pegu Division. The state-run newspaper Kyemon reported on Wednesday that five people suspected of involvement in the Okpho attack had been detained.

Since last Wednesday, at least seven anti-Muslim riots have been reported across Burma, including in Meikhtila, where the recent wave of sectarian violence began. According to the latest official figures, 40 people have been reported killed in the central Burmese city, and at least 35 people have been detained on suspicion of involvement in the violence.

On Tuesday, the All Burma Muslim Federation released a statement saying that the ongoing violence is not between Buddhist and Muslim people, but is a well-planned campaign to instigate public unrest.

“We’ve also found out that relevant authorities failed to practice security measures in full force to protect Muslim people,” the statement said.

The announcement also urges the government to find out who masterminded the unrest, and to take legal action against them and anyone else involved in the violence.


16 Responses to More Anti-Muslim Riots Reported Overnight

  1. the police and army watch the terrorist pig monks burning muslims and its properties ..dare the defense parties can shoot the monks ..no because these security agencies are also involved in killing muslims. i urge united nation to intervene militarily as myanmarees army could not control its terrorist monks..

  2. hello
    How does this sad situation afects tourism ? We want to come to Burma next week but we dont know if it is safe. Best regards

    • Burma (Myanmar) is very safe.
      The people are honest and friendly.
      I assure you, you can come.
      Most terrorists are active in Islamic countries !

      • @German Traveler : I AM A HINDU .WORKING IN DUBAI : Islamic countries are not the place of Terrorist . Don`t believe what western media says . Come to Islamic countries Then you can feel the difference( Dubai , Kuwait . Saudi . There are lot of Non – Muslim workers are living very peacefully. Don`t be a Brain washed lunatic sheep Hitler Was from Your Country . He was a killer ( But no one call Germans all are Bad ). . Peace ; Peace . Peace

      • Hitler Was from Your Country . He was a killer ( But no one call Germans all are Bad ).

      • How can you say very safe place? I can see where you come from,before the WW 2 you people say to the world that Germany is safe place for Jews people.Now are you doing again?

      • Will Al-Qaeda set a bomb on your flight when German Traveller take to Burma? Burma is safe because of good majority of Muslim in Burma but the flights to and our from Burma will not be safe, particularly thein sein and than shwe flights.
        I do not hope and do not wish to happen it from the irritation to Al-Qaeda from German Traveller deliberately.

  3. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “On Tuesday, the All Burma Muslim Federation released a statement saying that the ongoing violence is not between Buddhist and Muslim people, but is a well-planned campaign to instigate public unrest”.
    TOLD YOU SO since day one man!
    “The attackers destroyed 14 buildings and looted shops, but there was no arson or casualties,” said an officer at Zigon Police Station, adding that the attacks took place from 2:40 to 5:30 am on Wednesday.
    “When we disbanded them, the attackers ran away, gathered in another place and tried to attack another area. It was like a hit-and-run scenario,” he said.
    YOU CAN FOOL SOME PEOPLE, SOME TIME only, NOT ALL, EVERY TIME and ALWAYS as well man!
    “We’ve also found out that relevant authorities failed to practice security measures in full force to protect Muslim people,” the statement said.
    Thus PROVED the FACT, the COMMUNAL RIOTS in Burma today are STATE CRAFTED and SPONSORED no less of course.
    Hence, the QUESTION “WHAT’S the MOTIVE?”
    Thein Sein, Shwe Mann, Min Aung Hlaing and of course the communists in Beijing have the ANSWER any bets?
    “The announcement also urges the government to find out who masterminded the unrest, and to take legal action against them and anyone else involved in the violence”.
    Hey, I wouldn’t BANK on it man!
    It is akin to ASKING the MURDERER/ROBBER to TURN HIMSELF IN of course.
    And the guys in Naypyidaw are ABOVE the LAW and BEYOND LEGAL ACTION as well lest you guys forget!
    A case in point for that matter: A SIMPLE TRAFFIC POLICE OFFICER WENT MISSING in the TUNNELS of Naypyidaw for DOING HIS DUTY until today.

  4. Hi!

    I just signed the petition “UN Security Council: Protect Muslim civilian lives from State sponsor Organized Vigilantes” on Change.org.

    It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/un-security-council-protect-muslim-civilian-lives-from-state-sponsor-organized-vigilantes

    Thanks!

  5. Whenever there are serious security threats and disturbances in the country, governments tend to calm the populace by assuring that the authorities will clamp down on subversive elements and restore the rule of law. It’s done not only by issuing statements but also with appearances by heads of government on TV.

    Such a situation demands now in Burma while there are repeated destruction of properties and arsons in some cities. A few federal ministers stressed the need to stop violence in order not to obstruct the ongoing democratic reforms but their warnings were not heeded in quite a few towns. What we are missing is the famous Burmese president who seems to be fond of appearing side by side with international dignitaries on camera but is now hiding when the people long for his personal assurances.

    As U Aung Zaw of Irrawaddy puts it, do “Buddhist thugs” make their comeback? I hope not but the evidence points to the contrary. Since Meikhtila disturbances and instead of government’s pledge to take strong actions against rioters and agitators, there were further attacks on Burmese Muslim’s houses and mosques in Ywathitkyi in Tatkon Township, Gyobingauk, Okpho, Minhla, Zigon and Nattalin, to name a few. Reports also indicated that both Buddhist and Muslim communities have been living in fear restricting their movements and many businesses had to be totally closed or opened only for a limited time. Nobody knows how long this kind of abnormalities will go on.

    As the events show, local police forces are not adequately trained and well equipped. And they also fall short of manpower to quell the riots. Those police squads are incapable of even enforcing curfews and Section 144 in many towns. When soldiers are sent to Meikhtila to maintain peace after the declaration of the state of emergency, people became alarmed that the military is back in power. In light of the unfortunate circumstances at hand, the country should consider security arrangements to prepare for future mob controls.

    If Burma likes to imitate security setups in other countries, the United States can give an example. Its constitution gives the president the power to be commander-in-chief of the national defense services including army, navy, air and marine forces. Local police are managed by mayors while state governors command State National Guards. Whenever natural disasters or other disturbances strike small towns and often even big cities, police forces with only limited capacity become overwhelmed. In those situations, governors step in with State National Guards under their control to take care of relief efforts and security.

    In normal circumstances, federal troops are rarely used to maintain peace in states except when states need the expertise of, for example, army engineering corps to repair or rebuild large constructions like dams or levies. However, President Eisenhower has once sent 1,000 members of the 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas State to remove obstructions to justice in Little Rock school integration. In 1965, President Johnson repeated it by sending federal troops to Alabama to guard thousands of protesters led by Martin Luther King, Jr. These were only exceptions because state governors didn’t obey the existing federal laws.

    Political and military leaders in Burma should start to discuss and formulate the formation of State National Guards that should be available to Prime Ministers of States and Divisions whenever violence erupts in large scales in their jurisdictions. These forces can maintain the peace without any burden on the armed forces and local police. And people don’t have to be unnecessarily alarmed of military coups either.

    • Teaky wrote “Political and military leaders in Burma should start to discuss and formulate the formation of State National Guards—–”
      Do you want to say Political leaders are from USDP?
      Do you want to say military leaders are from than shwe, U pai and their cronies?
      Do you want to say Political leaders are from DASSK, U win tin, Ming Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi?
      Do you want to say military leaders are from Kachin, Karen, Shan , Mon , Chin , Wa armies?
      Do you want to say undemocratic elected Bama military government (thugs) is right to set up Federal government as well as state National guards , like democratic elected USA government?
      The only solution is immediate resignation of min aung laing, dissolving the bama military government, appointing DASSK as temporary president as well as commander in chief in Bama army, requesting all ethnics’ armies to control those eruptions with DASSK, honoring Panglong agreement and calling democratic referendum under UN supervision within 6 months. Then, put trials on all war criminals from bama military thugs, particularly than shwe, maung aye and his military associates. Then, US will release all sanction on Burma for doing business and China will regain their businesses with Burma as well as peace at their border areas.
      All Burmese hates than shwe , USDP, his private army and his private bama military government now and then. Please, do not dream for letting than shwe to regaining his power in Burma with making use of DASSK. Very soon than shwe can no longer to play his game upon China and US.

      • Dear Mr. Norman Hla;

        I appealed to President U Thein Sein to appear on the TV to explain to the people what the government has done in regard to the disturbances and also to give his personal assurances to quell the mob violence. He did it within 24 hours. Like the millions of citizens, I am very grateful to him for that.

        I proposed him and all parties concerned to make changes to our present political, military, civil and religious institutions to suit the imminent democratic Burmese society. Above, you would see my suggestions to create statewide security forces. I also urge Buddhist religious leaders to adopt clear disciplinary measures so that all sanghas can follow them in future activities. I am not a dreamer. As I am nobody, I can only make suggestions. My goodwill is that our motherland becomes prosperous and peaceful and all citizens can live together harmoniously regardless of their religious beliefs. Thank you sir for your discussion.

      • Norman,
        I strongly agree with you. As long as military criminals are roaming free in Burma, problems will keep growing. They are the ones who instigated the current violence. They did the same thing in the past. They keep doing it today. They will continue it in the future. UN needs to bring them to The Hague for trials.

        • Dear teaky and Salai Lain
          We all are in the same boat for expecting Burma to be in the right track with speedy democracy. As such, the culprit of this religious clash is not from the foreign countries ( US or China or UK or Pakistan or India or Bangladesh ) from common and logical sense. China already said they are worried about their unstable areas with Burma for getting border business profits from Burma long long ago until now. US is wise and well educated how to build their image internationally. In fact, US is not interested Burmese business and resources as the world most super power as well as economist power. US have India, Thailand, Philippines, Japan and south Korea for his military advantages on China. In history , US already ordered Chinese nationalist army to withdraw from their Burma invasion in U nu time. China can wipe out than shwe private army within hours. Today China is not yesterday one although they are worried about their gas pipe for their military as well as industrial purpose in case.
          Therefore , who in Burma dare to create the stir up or all sorts of clash in Burma. We all Burmese have needle only at home ( Syria rebels have guns). Than shwe , USDP is the only capable to create those clashes and clashes to test people power, DASSK, ming Ko naing. At the same time, than shwe wants to show that his private army is very crucial now because of small unrest than shwe created. If Burma goes into speedy democracy, their fate and ending will be go along very soon ( see the UN human right commission demand for their many questions on than shwe and his military associates now and then as all those are not forgivable and than shwe and his men must pay a price for their killing innocent people). Than shwe does not want to delete 2008 constitution in order to dissolve their security council than shwe and thein sein chair now. That national security council is already higher than all laws in Burma because they can kill anybody and they can coup current president as well as DASSK.
          Teaky is too late to request to thein sein to set up another security council. Thant kind of causal killing council from than shwe and thien sein is already existed , designed in 2008 and implemented in their parliament , DASSK attending now. Why does Teaky wants another council for casual killing from bama military thugs?

          In short, do not kill each others for the benefit of than shwe and his USDP. Do not point fingers to each others among our own lovely , innocent people of Burma. Do not go into the traps and tricks of than shwe and his puppets. Do not let than shwe make use of us, particularly DASSK and her late father (GAS). Do not become suspicious on foreign countries around March 27, M-day or bama army day ( please , be aware that the first conquer on Japan army was declared by Kachin army before General Aung san on March 27). Do not vote than shwe private army in the events of religious clash than shwe wants.

          • I never want to set up another security council. I suggest some “State” (not Federal/Union) Guards for State and Divisional Governments (like Shan, Rakhine, Karen, Pegu, Mandalay, etc.) to use to help their local populace. The misunderstanding occurs because I was giving an example of US National Guards who are under the command of Governors from individual states.

  6. Granted, this has been a long time coming – so many instances of violence in Muslim countries, muslim against muslim, Sunni against Shia, violence against all other minorities in muslim majority countries in the world. The rest of the world has this perception of violence about muslims.

    BUT

    The Buddha taught “Hate begets hate; anger begets anger”. This violence against muslims by the Burmese Buddhist majority can only lead to more destruction and hurt on both sides. I am sad that Burmese Buddhists do not hear the Buddha’s words.

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