Police Shoot 3 Rohingya in Clash With Mob

By Lawi Weng 9 August 2013

Police shot and wounded at least three Rohingya Muslims in a village near the Arakan State capital, where an angry mob gathered outside a police outpost on Friday demanding that the body of a fellow Rohingya who had drowned the day before be handed over.

An aid worker from the village of Oh Daw Gyi in Sittwe Township told The Irrawaddy that the trouble arose after police recovered the body of a Rohingya man who had drowned on Thursday.

A group of Rohingya Muslims went to a police checkpoint on Friday morning to ask authorities to return the body to them, according to the aid source. When police refused to turn over the body, the crowd became unruly and police shot into the group after some tried to set fire to the outpost.

Win Myaing, a spokesperson for the Arakan State government, confirmed to The Irrawaddy that some members of the group were injured, but added that no one was killed as police sought to break up the unruly mob.

“I heard that three to four people were wounded. No one was killed in the breaking up of the protest,” Win Myaing said.

Three people with gunshot wounds were treated by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) at a camp in the nearby village of Tek Cal Pyin and calm has been restored to the area, according to the aid worker.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority who reside primarily in Arakan State. They are denied citizenship by the Burmese government, which considers them illegal “Bengali” immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, despite the fact that many of them have been living in Burma for generations.

International human rights groups and the UN human rights envoy have repeatedly criticized the government’s handling of the crisis in western Burma, where Arakanese Buddhists clashed with Rohingya in June and October 2012. The unrest led to nearly 200 deaths and displaced about 140,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims.