Two Rohingya Killed by Police in Arakan: State Govt

By Lawi Weng 12 August 2013

At least two Rohingya Muslims were killed by police and seven others were injured in Sittwe, according to the regional government, which said the violence came during two incidents involving unruly mobs in the capital of Arakan State.

Win Myaing, a spokesperson for the Arakan State government, confirmed to The Irrawaddy on Monday that one person died on Sunday at a hospital in Sittwe, where he was receiving treatment for gunshot wounds. Another person’s death was reported by Rohingya community leaders from Ohn Htaw Gyi, a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“One person died yesterday and another one we found out about from their people at the camp, but they did not show the dead body to us,” Win Myaing said.

He said his government had provided compensation to the victims’ families, giving them 200,000 kyat (US$205) each for those wounded and 400,000 kyat to families of the deceased.

Gunfire rang out in two separate incidents on Friday, the first after an angry mob gathered outside a police outpost in the morning demanding that the body of a fellow Rohingya who had drowned the day prior be handed over. Police reportedly refused to provide the body, provoking a skirmish between the two sides.

Local sources said later that evening, another clash took place at the Buduwa IDP camp, nearby to Ohn Htaw Gyi. Police there reportedly fired into a crowd that had gathered in relation to the drowning victim.

Citing a “Rohingya spokesman,” the Rangoon-based Myanmar Times reported that at least five people were killed during the clashes on Friday.

The state-run Burmese-language newspaper Myanma Alin did not report any fatalities. It said eight people were detained after a group of some 500 Rohingya gathered at the police outpost to collect the drowned Rohingya body. The newspaper said police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, which grew increasingly aggressive. One police officer, Htay Win, was beaten by the mob, Myanma Alin reported.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority found mainly 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 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.