Satellite images show huge swath of coastal town destroyed
in a wave of violence which has left dozens dead
by Peter Beaumont
Burma's president has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has
targeted his country's Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages
and large parts of towns.
Thein Sein's acknowledgement follows the release of satellite images showing
the severe scale of the destruction in one coastal town, where most - if not
all - of the Muslim population appears to have been displaced and their
The pictures, acquired by Human Rights Watchshow destruction to the coastal
town of Kyaukpyu in the country's west. They reveal an area of destruction
35 acres in size in which some 811 buildings and boats have been destroyed. . . .
The attacks in Arakan province in the country's west - also known as Rakhine
- appears to have been part of a wave of communal violence pitting Arakan
Buddhists against Muslims that has hit five separate towns and displaced
thousands of people. . . .
The Rohingya are officially stateless. Buddhist-majority Burma's government
regards the estimated 800,000 of them in the country as illegal immigrants
from Bangladesh, and not as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups,
and denies them citizenship. . . .
[Today, there are about 70,000 displaced from the conflict, mostly Muslims.
The two communities are almost completely segregated in towns such as
Sittwe, where the Arakan Buddhists are able to roam freely while the
Rohingya are mostly confined to a series of camps outside the centre.--"Burma clashes spread to new districts,"
guardian.co.uk, October 15, 2012]
[In recent months, Suu Kyi has been subjected to unusually sharp criticism
for her perceived as limp response to conflict in Rakhine State, where
Buddhist Rakhine's have clashed violently with Muslim Rohingyas. In an
interview with the New York Times in September 2012, Suu Kyi said, "I know
that people want me to [speak on the issue], they want strong and colorful
condemnation, which I won't do, because I don't think it helps."--Billy Tea,
Kyi's fading glory," atimes.com, February 9, 2013]
[The United Nations, which calls the Rohingya one of the most persecuted
minorities in the world, says that of the 13,000 mostly Rohingya Muslims who
fled Burma and Bangladesh last year, at least 485 were known to have
drowned.--Jason Motlagh, "Muslim refugees flee Burma by boat after
sectarian violence," washingtonpost.com, February 11, 2013]
[Violence and discrimination against Muslims is currently framed by some
Buddhist groups as a necessary response to the imminent threat of Islam's expansion into
the Buddhist community; in a situation like this, some Buddhists have argued that any
actions can be justified in order to protect the religion.--Matthew J Walton, "Buddhism turns
violent in Myanmar," atimes.com, April 2, 2013]
[The killings of Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state in the west of the country that
started the violence in 2012 has spread this year to the wider Muslim population.--Tom
complicity in Myanmar pogroms," atimes.com, July 1, 2013]
[ . . . both laws are directed against the country's minority Muslim community. The first will
severely limit the conversion of Buddhist women to Islam and the second will restrict
Muslim families to no more than two children.--David I Steinberg, "Laws enforce
discrimination in Myanmar," atimes.com, March 18, 2014]
[Washington wants to establish a military presence in the Bay of Bengal in order to control
China's pipelines through Myanmar (both of which go through Rohingya-inhabited Rakhine
State)--Andrew Korybko, "American plan for a South Asian 'Kosovo' in Rohingyaland,"
independent.co.uk, September 6, 2015]
["First, this is a game against China, as China has very large investments in Arakan
[Rakhine]," Mosyakov told RT. "Second, it is aimed at fuelling Muslim extremism in
Southeast Asia. . . . Third, it's the attempt to sow discord within ASEAN [between Myanmar
and Muslim-dominated Indonesia and Malaysia]."--"Soros and Hydrocarbons: What's Really Behind the Rohingya Crisis in
Myanmar," sputniknews.com, May 9, 2017]
[These forces are currently working to spread chaos to a second region, South-East Asia.
. . . we now have the Muslims against the Buddhists.--Thierry Meyssan, "Clash of Civilisations 2,"
voltairenet.org, October 10, 2017]