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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid