Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Burmese security forces fire into Rakhine mob

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:08 Mizzima News    

One Rakhine man was shot dead and two were wounded by Burmese security forces on Tuesday as several thousand Rakhine natives moved toward a Muslim village, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Tuesday.

The shooting at Kyauknimaw village in Ramree Township came as the UN and Asean issued warnings that Burma’s sectarian violence poses grave dangers for Burma’s democratic reforms and the wider region.

This picture taken on October 13, 2012, shows a policeman sitting behind a barbed wire fence blocking the entrance into the Aung Mingalar quarter, which has turned into a ghetto after violence wracked the city of Sittwe, the capital of Burma's western Rakhine State. Photo: AFP

At least 84 people have died, 129 others have been wounded and 28,000 are homeless following a week of renewed violence between Muslim Rohingyas and Rakhines, according to government figures.

Some 4,600 houses have also been burned in the latest violence. In the earlier clashes, which started in June, at least 80 people died and 75,000 mostly Rohingyas were displaced and are now sheltered in refugee camps.

The UN said Tuesday that the area's refugee camps are now under great strain, and humanitarian workers are themselves being threatened by local agitators. Aid workers are prevented from reaching many areas, it said.

Local residents said about 6,000 to 10,000 Rakhines on Tuesday attempted to force out Muslim occupants in Kyauknimaw village, causing security police to open fire, RFA said.

An unconfirmed report said that local authorities have said they would move the Muslims out from the village within a week, RFA reported.

Speaking at a lecture series organized by Malaysia's Global Movement of Moderates Foundation in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said he was gravely concerned over the clashes in Rakhine State.

“It's not an issue of Muslims and Buddhists, that's only part of it,” he said. “It's an issue of constitutional structure, it's an issue of democracy, it is an issue of human rights, it's an issue of national reconciliation, and that issue can spill out very quick and very fast.”

“The situation is deteriorating and there is now a risk of a radicalization of the Rohingya. This would not be good for anyone,” he said. “This would have wider strategic and security implications for the region.”

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