Village near Meikhtila in Flames, as Violence Flares Again

Residents of Meikhtila seek shelter at one of six camps set up to house thousands of people displaced by clashes between Buddhist and Muslims in the central Burmese city. (Photo: Teza Hlaing / The Irrawaddy)

MEIKHTILA — Dozens of building were destroyed by fire on Saturday in the latest outbreak of violence in central Burma since clashes between Buddhists and Muslims began last Wednesday, leaving at least 32 people dead.

Local sources said that a brawl broke out at a Muslim-owned teashop in Ywa Tan, a village in Yamethin Town, Mandalay Division, at around 7 pm Saturday night. In the ensuing violence, a mob torched 58 buildings, including the teashop, the sources said.

It was unclear who the attackers were, but 50 of the destroyed buildings were reportedly Muslim-owned. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Yamethin is located about 34 miles (55 km) from Meikhtila, the scene of three days of violence that left at least 32 people dead, according to the latest official figures announced by state-run television on Saturday night.

When contacted by The Irrawaddy, an official from Yamethin Police Station confirmed that a fire had broken out in Ywa Tin at around 7 pm Saturday, but he declined to say if it was related to the violence in Meikhtila.

“We are still investigating the cause of this incident and who is involved, so at this moment we can’t disclose any detailed information,” he said.

In Saturday’s broadcast, state media said that a total of 8,189 people had been displaced by the violence, with most now taking shelter in six camps set up by the government.

Order was largely restored in the city by Saturday, after a state of emergency was ordered by President Thein Sein on Friday and the army was brought in to patrol the streets.

On Sunday morning, Vijay Nambiar, the special advisor on Burma to the UN secretary-general, visited relief camps in the city and called on the government to punish those responsible for the riots.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Nambiar said he was encouraged to learn that some individuals in both the Buddhist and Muslim communities had bravely helped each other, and that local religious leaders were now advocating peace.

“There is a certain degree of fear and anxiety among the people, but there is no hatred,” he said.

His remarks came a day after Burma’s Interfaith Friendship Organization issued a statement urging Buddhist monks and followers of different religions in the country to help ease the tension, maintain community harmony and keep themselves away from unnecessary conflict.

The statement, by Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu leaders, also called on the government to take action as necessary under the law as soon as possible.

14 Responses to Village near Meikhtila in Flames, as Violence Flares Again

  1. Khin Zaw (@) Ginwalla

    UN officer, pls note there wont be any progress, these are pre-planned massacre, by army thugs. Anyone culprits got punished in Arakan. I can guarantee you, after this aftermath, another town is numbered. Where is the law and order. Why our so called UN Gen.Secty., Mr.Bankimoon is quite? Where is OIC? What a country Burma has become. No rule of Law. Dispute starts in a shop and the muderers are there to loot, kill, and torch the worshipping place. Vijay Nambiar, your words are so soft that sounds like a teacher asking his class monitor to control his class. What a joke Why this serious incident was not condemn by UN?
    Its the duty of Mr. Thein Sein to visit these effected towns.
    I have no faith anymore in UN. Shame on UN leaders.

    • agree. It’s a shame indeed.

    • UN is slave of international business men who are the ones propping up Thein Sein fronted military who are the very ones doing the killing and burning to rid the o-country off the “Mus” they call them. Nambiar is most idiotic one of all as well physically involved in condemning/ condoning the Tamil civilians around 40,000 at Mullivaikal in 2009.

      Now the Bamar Sit-tut in changed clothes is going to best it. And the international communities are going to support Thein Sein fronted Sit-tut just as they do to Rajapaksa Criminal Brothers. Of note the militant tone and action of the current prominent Buddhist monks in Burma are direct copy of their Sri Lankan Nazi colleagues as well.

      NLD and the 88’s are going to support the action of the Sit-tut in the name of People’s benefit. All places the Muslim people used to own are now bulldozed and “developed” by the cronies everywhere. Double benefit!!! In Meiktila the 88’s are going to help with that deception. Corralling the Muslim people into the stadium by the coaxing monks and the “Security forces” is indeed “Final Solution”.

  2. This abhorrent barbaric behaviour has no place in the 21st Century. When religion sets people apart it is plain to see the rituals have lost there function and become no more than obsessions and compulsions.

    My stomach turns and I have no wish to visit Myanmar anytime soon.

  3. We need national security officers in every and single ward in Burma with a power to control mob. I feel that the country has no security or whatsoever. When muslims urge for help to 99 army force they were told that this is Public Government system. They could not help unless they receive the command to do so. The vitims approached Police in town but the Police told the victims that their Police station would be destroyed by mob. So the Police got way with that. Police were watching when a mob burnt down the buildings, shops and looting the porperties of muslims. The President used to say about the rule of law. There wasn’t any rule of law to protect the citizens. If this is the case, the President should consider to resign from the service as the national security is at risk. It was clear that this is a pre-planed race riot. Riot took place on Wednesday. The Army arrived on Saturday. It took more than 48 hours to send Army and the whole twon would have been killing fields when they arrived. Verry slow system of national security. If this is in America or Britain, within minutes the riot could be controlled by Police force only. Our responsible Police were only watching the mob. This means encouraging the mob take everthing they want from muslims. This is not Democracy, isn’t it?

  4. Why Buddists are so ferocious? They should respect other’s religion for betterment of their country. No violance is main religion.

    • All of Buddhist are not ferocious. Buddhist lifestyle is very simple and peaceful. You must see the source of the problem. For example, somebody will try to kill you and abase for your relegion, how to reply you willbe.

  5. It is high time that the authorities cease pussyfooting around the problem of agitators in monks’ robes. It seems from various news reports that they are to blame for instigating the riots in Meikhtila. Whereas the average Buddhist generally co-exists peacefully with neighbors of a different religion, these troublemakers inciting violence can in no way be considered Buddhists. I have noticed over many years of visiting Myanmar that the better educated are able to distinguish between the vast majority of sincere Buddhist monks and believers and the opportunists hiding behind their robes to pursue their own ends. That these ends should be to cause mayhem and deaths is shameful, but equally so is the tolerance extended to them and the incompetence and non-intervention of the police as the tension increases to an explosion of violence. One can hope that these agitators can be identified and punished in the here and now, but even if not, if truly Buddhist, they will fall low enough in their next life to be out of harm’s way for many, many human lives to come.

    • “authorities” are the very one who devised the whole xenophobic extermination now that they are buoyed by the sucking up they received from the immoral international communities who are planning the killing the civilians by air strike Thein Sein for a Nobel Peace Prize showing total bankruptcy of the morality around the globe. This is just a beginning. Those Nazi monks and the killing mobs are simply common criminals used by them.

  6. No surprise this tragedy happens again in a lawless country. Only deep sympathy for those innocent victims’ families – victims of planned rumor spread to incite hatred and killings by so-called peaceful monks and thugs. As long as people don’t wake up to realize rampant politically motivated news media, there will be more pain upon human beings.

  7. The age of the Buddhist nazism is coming. What happen to “Never again”? UN and so called ASEAN and International community?

    • It is not isolated accidental Buddhist Nazism.

      In Burma, EVERYTHING is STATE-SPONSORED. Who is going to guard the guards? As for the so-called “International Communities” they are busy praising/ sucking up/ propping up/ helping the Sit-tut who in fact are the real instigators and perpetrators of any violent acts with collusion of the Nazi monks. and lay people.

      Funny people talks about the military rule coming back! where did it go? They are there more entrenched and ruthless than ever and this is the proof, and guess what , it WILL get worse. Keep pampering the Sit-tut and their agent Thein Sein, ” International Community”. The fire will spread to your very own backyard one day soon.

  8. Muslim or not they are Burmese and treat them such. I have travelled the world Burmese Muslims are tolerant and not fanatical.

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