Rabu, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 Juli 2019

Rabu, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 Juli 2019

Special Report: Witnesses tell of organized killings of Myanmar Muslims (3)

Senin 12 Nov 2012 17:31 WIB

Red: Yeyen Rostiyani

A broken clock is left on the floor of the destroyed Old Village Jamae Mosque, one of East Pikesake's two mosques in the area, that became the frontline in recent battles in Kyaukphyu November 3, 2012. Picture taken November 3.

A broken clock is left on the floor of the destroyed Old Village Jamae Mosque, one of East Pikesake's two mosques in the area, that became the frontline in recent battles in Kyaukphyu November 3, 2012. Picture taken November 3.

Foto: Reuters/Minzayar

We had no problems before

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PAIK THAY - On Monday, October 22, hundreds of Rakhine men gathered on the southern outskirts of Mrauk-U, an ancient capital studded with Buddhist temples about 15 miles north of Paik Thay. Then they marched to Tha Yet Oak, a Muslim fishing village of about 1,100 people, and set alight its flimsy bamboo homes.

The Muslim villagers fled by boat to nearby Pa Rein village. The Rakhine mob followed, swelling to nearly 1,000, according to Kyin Sein Aung, 66, a Rakhine farmer from a neighboring Buddhist village.

He didn't recognize the mob; he described them as "outsiders" and said he suspected they came from Mrauk-U. Hundreds now poured across a stream separating the villages. Others came by boat. By noon, there were about 4,000 Rakhines, according to both Buddhist and Muslim villagers.

Four soldiers shot in the air to disperse the crowd but were easily overwhelmed, witnesses said. The Muslims fought back with spears and machetes, torching a rice mill and several Rakhine homes. Rakhines fired homemade guns.

Six Muslims were killed, including two women, said M.V. Kareem, 63, a Muslim elder in Pa Rein - a toll confirmed by the military. He and other villagers said they saw familiar faces and uniformed police in the angry crowd.

"I don't know why it started," said Kareem, who has friends in the Buddhist village. Buddhist farmer Kyin Sein Aung was baffled, too. For years, he worked in rice fields shoulder-to-shoulder with his Muslim neighbors. "We had no problems before."

Communities like Pa Rein had avoided the June violence. But new strains emerged with the subsequent segregation of Muslim and Buddhist villages, a draconian order imposed by the Rakhine State government. Intended to prevent more violence, it backfired.

Impoverished Muslim villagers could no longer buy rice and other supplies in Buddhist towns. Transgressors were sometimes beaten with sticks or fists to warn others, according to people interviewed in six Muslim villages. Fishing nets were confiscated.

Desperation grew, with rice stocks dwindling as the monsoon peaked in October. Some Muslim villagers stole rice from Buddhist farmers, further stoking anger, said farmer Kyin Sein Aung.

By 4:30 p.m. that same Monday, several thousand Rakhines were massed outside Sam Ba Le, a village in neighboring Minbya township. By now, a pattern was emerging.

Rakhines flanked the village, hurling Molotov cocktails and firing homemade guns, said a village elder. Muslims fought back, sometimes with spears or machetes, but were overpowered. Government troops shot rounds into the air. By the time the crowd left Sam Ba Le at 6 p.m., one Muslim man had been killed and two-thirds of its 331 homes razed.

As night fell, the townships of Mrauk-U and Minbya imposed 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfews. But worse was to come.

BACA JUGA: Ikuti News Analysis News Analysis Isu-Isu Terkini Persepektif Republika.co.id, Klik di Sini
  • Komentar 0

Dapatkan Update Berita Republika

 

BERITA LAINNYA