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Interviews: Violence

Interviews: Violence

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Published by Rick Heizman
Interviews of Rakhine Buddhist victims of the Bengali Muslim (Rohingya) violence of 2012.
Interviews of Rakhine Buddhist victims of the Bengali Muslim (Rohingya) violence of 2012.

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Published by: Rick Heizman on Apr 13, 2013
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07/12/2013

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How did your husband die?
Bengalis came to burn down our village. So, we had to run away to Gudaung village. But, my husband stayed atour village to put out the fire.
How did you know your husband was killed?
People from Gudaung Village went to our village to put out the fire, and they saw him dead along with other dead bodies and houses on fire. When I heard that he was dead, I feel desperately weak as I am pregnant. I can’teven imagine my future, as our family is depending on my husband for our daily survival.
What is your attitude towards the Bengalis?
We want them to move away from us. We dare not live close to them anymore.
San Nu Khin - widow, near Gudaung Village, Ratchadaung Township
 ________________________________________________________________________ 
Why did you take refuge in this camp, at this age?
I fled my village to escape from possible Bengali slaughter.
What kind of threats did Muslims issue to your village to make you leave the village?
They burned a nearby village and killed fellow Arakanese villagers there, which made us more than sufficiently believe that we would face the same fate if we stayed.
How many houses were burned in that village?
About 100 houses.
San Tun Phyu - 77 year-old grandfather, Nay-Bi-Sate village, Ratchadaung Township
 ________________________________________________________________________ The Bengalis came and set on fire our village on June 10. When I saw fire, I went there and saw theArakanese and Bengalis were fighting each other. They were throwing pallets, stones and sharp tools to eachothers.Then I had to join the fight to defend our homes, families, our ethnic nationality, and our (Buddhist) religion. Iwas hurt by a lead-pallet which hit my right eyebrow.
How was the strength of each side in the fight?
They had more than 300 people and there was only 80 on our side. Meanwhile, the authorities arrived on thescene and took control. The fighting stopped after the authorities arrived.
Who lived in those burnt houses?
They were houses belonging to Bengalis. They set their own houses on fire and ran into the coconut forest bythe sea. They did it with the intention of showing the authorities and the international community that theBengalis are the victims of attacks by local Arakanese.
Can you tell us your village situation after the attack?
After the attack, we found out they were still planning to attack us again, by surprise. To defend ourselvesagainst them, we have to set up our own patrols to watch out for danger.
 Mun Htwan - manual laborer, Mungan quarter, Sittwe
1
Interviews of Rakhine/Arakanese victims of the Bengali Muslims
VIOLENCE
 
Can you tell us as much as you know about the Bengali-Arakanese violence that happened in theMungan quarter of Sitttwe on June 8th?
On Friday June 8th, after the Bengalis had finished their prayers at the mosque, we saw a mob of 200 or 300 people was gathering by the railway. We heard the noise and went towards it, to look and see what happened.The Arakanese people from the nearby row of houses could see the Bengalis directly, and they watched andcried fearfully. The Bengalis had brought weapons - knives, sticks and catapults (slingshots) - and they were being hostile towards us. We were shocked by the weapons they readily brought with them with the intention toharm us. We called to the neighboring villages for help. Then young Arakanese and elders from our quarter came to that place, because they, also, had never heard such loud and ominous noise. Many young and old people, including me, gathered knives, sticks, and catapults to defend ourselves. When we got to the street, theBengalis started throwing stones at us. Then, elders, officials, and ministers arrived and convinced us all to step back, live in peace and not create problems between our communities. The officials left after soothing andcalming the situation, BUT, in just 10 minutes, the Bengalis had gathered again and they attacked us. Previouslythere were about 300 people in their side but it had swelled with many more people. We had gathered around 80 people. When the communal riot occurred again, the officials and minister arrived back here again. The officialsand minister seemed to convince the Mawlawis (An Islamic title given to a high Islamic scholar) from thegroup to exist in peace with Arakanese and the situation seemed calm.But after 10 p.m., the Bengalis insulted the Arakanese by shouting with foul words from the other side of railroad. We observed the Bengalis are gathering their forces. We couldn't stay idle and we gathered around 100 people to defend ourselves against these Bengalis. While we were defending ourselves the police from Mungan police station arrived. The police fired into the air to control the crowd, but the Muslims didn't retreat. TheBengalis even rudely showed their buttocks to the police. The police thought they could control the situationand came with only 4-5 officers. When they couldn't control the mobs with such a small force, they called theriot police. Then the Bengalis retreated. Meanwhile, the Bengalis set some of their own houses on fire.
What kind of challenges do you face due to this riots?
There are many difficulties. I feel distressed at the moment. Even now, we have to form groups to patrol for for our security. In order to live peacefully, the state authorities must firmly defend us from the hostilities of theBengalis.
Wong Thein - goldsmith, Mungan Quarter, Sittwe
 _______________________________________________________________________ On that night, (June 14, 2012) about 3,000 Bengalis came to attack our village. The next morning, there was adeadly fight against our villagers with the swords and machete.
Are there any Byraiphru villagers who got chopped dead by the Bengalis?
Yes, there are five people who got killed by them.
How many people from your village arrived here (refugee facility)?
There are 156 people.
 Htwan Oo Zun - Sittwe area
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Interviews - Violence
 
I’m a native of Thandway Township. My parents are mixed. My father is Bengali (Muslim) and my mother isBurmese (was Buddhist, had to convert to Islam), so I am Muslim.
Could you explain your experience of the violence in Maungdaw on June 8, 2012?
On Friday, June 8, we went to the school where we teach. We came back to the dorm at about 11:30 am on thatday. On the way to the dorm, an Arakanese lady told us that the Bengali Muslims were gathering and youshould take great care and caution for your security. It was true,there were a lot of Bengali Muslims gathering inthe cemetery, while we continued walking to our dorm. So we packed our belongings as soon as we arrived atour dorm. Moreover, we shared the gathering news of Bengalis with other teachers in the village and warnedthem to be aware and cautious”. When we were done packing, we fled and gathered together along with thevillagers at the school principal’s home. After two hours, the Bengali Muslims had finished their gathering andwere ready to attack the Arakanese. The Bengalis started setting fire to the Arakan houses. So, we teachersalong with the villagers fled to the mountains. The Bengalis chased after us. There were so many Bengalis.When we managed to get high on the mountain, we saw our school principal lying far below. His body had been badly beaten and chopped with machetes by the Bengalis. At 5 pm a senior teacher, Htwan Marm Hlaing andthe troops of the NaSaKa (Border Security Force) arrived in the village. We were told to return to the village. Atthat time, all the houses in the village were burned down. So we had to temporarily stay at a clinic that was not burned down. The next morning, we were brought back to Maungdaw by the army.
OK. If so you’re a follower of Islam, what would you like to say about the current violence?
What I want to say is that the current violence was started by the Bengalis and they burnt down and destroyedArakanese houses, buildings and Buddhist monasteries. They are wild and cruel, and they are targeting andkilling innocent people, and torturing them. It is so disgusting and inhumane. I’m not sure that they can betamed. They can’t expel their evil forces. I am not sure if they could ever expel them. We can’t teach them howto be kind and compassionate to each other.
What is your opinion of the Bengali Muslims and the current unrest?
I think that they are so terrible. I have never seen or experienced such a horrible event in my life. I was soshocked. These people are more then terrible. I would like to say that I will keep my teaching position, and Iwill try to keep doing good things for our country.
 Aye Su Thi - teacher, Zawmatet Village, Maungdaw Township
 ________________________________________________________________________ 
As far as we know, Myin-Chaung village was once a Rakhine village. Are there any Arakaneseinhabitants in the village now?
Yes it was once an Arakanese village, but there are no Arakanese living in the village. It is entirely a Bengalivillage now.Moreover, there are many. Villages such as Shauk-Kaing, Myin-Chaung, and others, were once all nativeArakanese villages. Also Tat Htoe Pyin, Ah-lae-Than-Kyaw and more, used to be Arakanese villages too. TheBengali Muslims destroyed the villages and monasteries and even slaughtered the monks there.
 Hmwe Tha - 86 year-old grandmother, Nay-Bi-Sate village, Maungdaw township
3
Interviews - Violence

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Myat Myat Tun added this note
Thank you so much for writing about the innocent Buddhist Rakhing people! We, the Rakhing people (Arakanese), are voice less. The Bengali Muslim, the liars, the killers, the rappers and the identity thieves are trying to occupy Myanmar by taking help from outside world. The UNHCR workers are blindly helping to the liars Bengali Muslims as the native Rakhing people by using the name of Rohingya fo
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