Burma Muslim Face Uncertain Future After Attacks
They slept terrified in the fields, watching their homes burn through the night. And when they returned Wednesday, nothing was left but smoldering ash and debris.
One day after hundreds of rampaging Buddhists armed with bricks stormed a clutch of Muslim villages in the closest explosion of sectarian violence yet to Myanmar’s main city, Rangoon, newly displaced Muslims combed through the wasteland where their houses once stood, facing a suddenly uncertain future. Unable to go home, many were too fearful of more attacks to leave.
“We ran into the fields and didn’t carry anything with us,” Hla Myint, a 47-year-old father of eight, said of the mobs who overran his village.
Tears welling in his eyes, he added: “Now, we have nothing left.”
One of the 10 people injured in the assaults died overnight, said Thet Lwin, a deputy commissioner of police for the region. Police have so far detained 18 attackers who destroyed 157 homes and shops and at least two mosques in Okkan and three outlying villages, he said. Okkan is just 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Yangon.