Update: Rohingya Villages Under Fire Once Again
In the past 24 hours, reports have been pouring out from Arakan about fresh attacks on Rohingya villages. A number of sources have contacted us from on the ground and these reports can now, sadly, be confirmed.
Throughout June and early July, the Rohingya were under increased pressure and facing violence by Rakhine and Burmese authorities. Now after relative calm and following the visit of UN Special Rapporteur, violence once again rages through Rohingya villages. On Sunday, 5th August, Rakhine mobs attacked 3 Muslim villages in Kyauktaw town, at the upper reaches of the Kaladan River.
Rohingya account for 23% of the population of the township - the 5th largest Rohingya Muslim habitation after Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Sittwe and Rathedaoung. Nearly 50,000 Rohingya live there and the township is steeped in Rohingya tradition and historical religious places.
The three villages which were hit by the arson attacks are :-
- Gupitaung village with 150 houses destroyed
- Apaukwa village with 40 houses destroyed and where 5 men died on the spot
- Shweling village with 140 houses destroyed (this village was situated near a creek and unknown number of Muslims are dead after drowning).
Today, Monday 6th August, again, a huge Rakhine mob gathered from the surrounding areas and torched the largest remaining Rohingya village with 2,000 houses destroyed and large parts of the village are still burning.
Security forces did not intervene to stop the arsonists and Kyauktaw has got huge army presence.
Following the UN Special Rapporteur's departure from Myanmar, Vice-President Sia Mauk Kham visited Maungdaw and Sittwe. In Maungdaw he met with the Rakhine community and in Sittwe he met a few Rohingya. He asked the Rohingya Muslims if they would prefer to stay with Rakhines as they did before because the Rakhines are in favour of segregation. Muslims said that they are against segregation - knowing that segregation will lead to the Rohingya being driven out of Arakan as suggested previously by President Thein Sein.
As state sponsored plans and systematic actions are taken to uproot Rohingya and send them to refugee camps by torching their houses, it is feared that more minority Rohingya townships ( Minbya, Mrouk U, Myebon, Kyauktaw, Kyaknimaw and Ponna Kyun townships) will be attacked in the coming hours and days which will effectively force the Rohingya to flee to refugee camps or, as has been previously seen, to other countries as refugees. In July when President Thein Sein met with UNHCR he clearly explained that Myanmar wishes for one of two possible solutions for the Rohingya - either they are kept all in within one refugee camp - as a stateless community similar to an open air prison, or that the Rohingya are all placed in third countries for settlement. It seems, the events of the past 48 hours are playing out exactly what the President had suggested as a 'final solution'.