Buddhist Massacre of Rohingya Muslims Continue*
A Buddhist mob has rampaged through a village in Myanmar, stabbing to death women and children from the Muslim community.
Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project advocacy group said on Friday that the latest act of violence against Rohingya Muslims took place during the early hours of January 14 in the western state of Rakhine.
The group has been documenting abuses against Rohingyas for over a decade.
Lewa added that the death toll could range between 10 and 60.
Tensions have mounted in the region since last month, when monks from a Buddhist extremist movement gave sermons in the area by loudspeaker, advocating the removal of all Rohingya Muslims, who comprise 90 percent of the population in Rakhine.
A resident, who works as a volunteer English teacher and asked not to be named, said the issue followed the discovery of three bodies in a ditch near the village of Du Char Yar Tan, AP reported.
The teacher added that firewood collectors who found the bodies believed they were among a group of eight Rohingyas who went missing after being arrested by authorities days earlier.
The firewood collectors informed friends and neighbors who returned with their cell phones to take pictures.
That night, five police officers went to the village to take away the phones and check family lists. Residents clashed with the officers.
Following the skirmishes, police claimed that one of their officers had gone missing and, along with Myanmar soldiers, surrounded the village, breaking down doors and plundering livestock and other valuables, according to the English teacher.
Meanwhile, Lewa said that her sources reported that Rohingya women and children had been stabbed to death.
That some of the victims appeared to have been hacked with knives, not shot or beaten, “would clearly indicate the massacre was committed by (Buddhist) Rakhine villagers, rather than the police or army,” the Arakan Project wrote in a briefing Thursday.
Myanmar government officials have confirmed that the situation was tense, but denied any deaths.
Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels them as “illegal” immigrants.
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