Tens of Thousands Displaced by Ethnic Violence in Burma
Renewed ethnic violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in Burma’s western Rakhine state has left thousands displaced and driven them into already overcrowded camps near the state capital, the UN said on Saturday.
Victims of Myanmar’s latest explosion of Muslim-Buddhist violence fled Sunday to already packed displacement camps along the country’s western coast as a top U.N. official said the unrest has forced more than 22,000 people from their homes.
Boats carrying some of those fleeing arrived outside the state capital, Sittwe. They trudged to the nearby Thechaung camp, a place already home to thousands of Rohingya Muslims who took refuge there after a previous wave of violence in June.
“I fled my hometown Pauktaw on Friday because there is no security at all,” said 42-year-old fisherman Maung Myint, who arrived on a boat carrying 40 other people, including his wife and six children. “My house was burned to ashes and I have no money left.”
Another Muslim refugee said she fled her village, Kyaukphyu, on Thursday after attackers set her home on fire.
“We don’t feel safe,” said 40-year old Zainabi, a fish-seller who left with her two sons, aged 12 and 14. “I wish the violence would stop so we can live peacefully.
Human Rights Watch released dramatic satellite imagery of Kyaukphyu on Saturday showing a vast swath of the village in ashes. The destruction included more than 800 buildings and floating barges.