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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora