Rohingya Muslim Shops and Schools Set on Fire by Buddhist Vigilante Groups

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A Rohingya woman breaks down after a fight during food distribution at Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. — AP file

An Islamic school which taught Arabic and Quran was torched to the ground and 41 shops belonging to Rohingya Muslims were also burned, said watchdog website The Stateless Rohingya

BUTHIDAUNG, MYANMAR (Agencies) — Buddhist vigilante groups set Rohingya schools and shops on fire in the village of Kun Taing in Myanmar’s Buthidaung town on Thursday, a report claims.

“This is a Muslim village. We have been living here peacefully for generations. We welcome other religious groups in our village. We have never had problems,” an elderly Rohingya man, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, told the Stateless Rohingya, a website run from Ireland aimed at highlighting the plight of the Rohingya people.

The report included a 35-second video that showed residents trying to douse a blaze. It was not clear whether the blaze seen in the video was at a school or a shop, or whether the footage was authentic.

The watchdog website said an Islamic school which taught Arabic and Quran was torched to the ground and 41 shops belonging to Rohingya Muslims were also burned.

Buthidaung is now the main area of conflict between the Myanmar military and Rakhine’s Arakan Army — a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group fighting for greater autonomy of the region, reports 5Pillars.

The Rohingya people have been described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, having experienced horrific attacks and genocide since communal violence began in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, at least 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mainly women and children have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces and Buddhist groups launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

According to a report published by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA), at least 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by the Myanmar army since 25 August 2017.

The report entitled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience” also said more than 34,000 Rohingya Muslims were burnt alive, while over 114,000 others were beaten and tortured.

The research added that at least 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s police and army, over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 houses vandalized.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes and massacres — including babies and children — and horrific levels of torture and disappearances carried out by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said these violations could constitute as crimes against humanity with genocidal intent.

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