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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid