News / Asia

Violent Riots Mar Presidential Visit to Popular Burma Beach Town

A man clears debris from the mosque that was burnt down in recent violence at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe, in the Rakhine state, Oct. 3, 2013.
A man clears debris from the mosque that was burnt down in recent violence at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe, in the Rakhine state, Oct. 3, 2013.
VOA News
Fresh sectarian violence broke out this week between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, reviving concerns that the country is not doing enough to alleviate tensions that the country’s president say are harming its national image. Like many past outbreaks, this week’s violence was located in Rakhine state. At least six Muslims were killed.
 
Witnesses say sectarian fighting overwhelmed the village of Hta Pyu Chai when a Buddhist mob torched most of the Muslim neighborhoods.
 
When Tun Tun Naing, 17, came out of hiding he discovered his father’s dead body lying in the mud near the burning embers of the village mosque.
 
His father, Khin Naing, had been hacked to death with a machete by the same Buddhist mob that came through town torching Muslim homes the day before.
 
Tun Tun said his father was not very good at running, and when the mob came through town he could not save himself.
 
The village is just a few kilometers away from what is considered Burma’s most popular tourist beach destination near the town of Thandwe.
 
There, days before, witnesses say an ethnic Kaman Muslim politician named Kyaw Zan Hla was involved in an argument over an inconveniently parked motorbike.
 
He was later arrested for insulting Buddhism. Buddhist mobs then gathered, armed themselves with slingshots, machetes, and other homemade weapons, and went to nearby Muslim villages and started burning homes.
 
Witnesses said they did not recognize the people in the mob who went on to burn dozens of homes in three villages.
 
The violence has gone unnoticed by tourists staying at the nearby beach resorts. A hotel manager said half of his guests do not even know about the fighting.
 
President Thein Sein was making his first visit to Rakhine state at the time of the violence. He visited Sittwe, Maungdaw, and Kyaukpyu, where similar incidents have taken place. He arrived in Thandwe on October 2 as homes in nearby villages continued to burn.
 
The U.S. embassy in Rangoon released a statement condemning the violence.
 
Similar incidents of communal violence have been occurring since June 2012, usually pitting Buddhists against their Muslim neighbors.
 
Maung Myint Htay is a Rakhine Buddhist from Hta Pyu Chai village who witnessed the violence. He said he does not know where the mob came from and that the view that the Muslims are not welcome and should be pushed out of the country is held by many.
 
“I don’t think what happened was not right. The people who came to burn homes, it’s their historical duty to do that,” said Maung Myint.

Myint Aung is one of Maung Myint’s neighbors. He said the rioters came at 3:30 a.m. and threw fire bombs at people's houses without knowing whether they were Muslims or Buddhists.

Six Buddhists were arrested Wednesday in connection to the riots in the village. One of them is a member of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, a predominantly Buddhist group.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid