The Myanmar Times
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Violences flares in Sittwe

Tensions have flared in Rakhine State's Sittwe, with at least five people reportedly having been killed in a series of incidents sparked by the rumoured fatal bashing of a fisherman by police.

Tensions have flared in Rakhine State's Sittwe, with at least five people reportedly having been killed in a series of incidents sparked by the rumoured fatal bashing of a fisherman by police.

Two fishermen in the village of Aun Daw Ji were allegedly beaten, leaving one injured. The body of the other man, a 48-year-old, showed signs of blunt force trauma. The incident took place in a village adjacent to IDP camps where Eid celebrations were in full swing.

Further violence was sparked when news of the incident spread and a mob of IDP camp residents rushed the police shortly after 11am, and according to Rohingya spokesman Aung Win the police opened fire on the crowd killing at least four.

Aung Win said camp residents went on to torch the police station as well as several homes in protest.  He did not know if the police action was part of a deliberate clampdown on celebrations for the Muslim festival of Eid, as has been rumoured.  
 
He voiced concerns that the death toll from the incident may have been underestimated, saying he had not seen violence of this magnitude since the bloodshed of June last year.

He also said people trying to leave the village found themselves subject to attacks.
 
"After 2pm the women were trying to flee the village and the police came and beat the women," he said.

A reporter on the ground said security presence in the area had been stepped up significantly since the incident.

The Myanmar Times spoke with a driver who enters the camp with NGO workers on a regular basis said the atmosphere on Thursday had been particularly good as celebrations began for Eid.

"Everyone seemed very happy and it felt safe. I  checked with my contacts in the camp before I went in yesterday and they said it was all good so I was surprised when I heard this had happened this morning."

Rohingya refugees at the camp chanted for the release of detained activist U Kyaw Hla Aung, and several arrests were reportedly made at the Baw Du Pha camp.