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Remote Buddhist Villages Threatened by Rampant Robberies

Narinjara News, Jan 12, 2011

Buthidaung, Burma -- Some remote Buddhist villages in southern Buthidaung Township, 80 miles north of Sittwe, are under threat of damage due to the rampant Muslim robbers in the area, report local people widely.

A villager in Kwe Gomaw Village said, "The authority is not protecting our village right now. So many families are thinking of moving to more safe places like downtown Buthidaung, where many army battalions are stationed."

The village of Kwe Gomaw is located near Nyung Chaung Nasaka outpost in southern Buthidaung Township, and the village was hit by dacoits on 1 January, 2011.

"At 12 pm on 1 January, around 30 armed Muslim robbers surrounded our village. After that the robbers entered our village and robbed property from all the houses one by one. When a villager refused to give over his property, a robber beat him with his gun and injured his head. Properties worth 3 million kyat were taken by the robbers," the villager said.

After the robbers left the village, they hit another Buddhist village in the area, Thein Daung Byint, where many people of the Dynet tribes are living.

During the second attack, the village chairman's wife was severely wounded when some of the robbers opened fire on villagers who were trying to fight back against them. The woman is now hospitalized in Buthidaung in critical condition, although her condition is improving.

A villager from Thein Daung Byint said, "We are now afraid to live in our village because we have no safety, despite that our village is located in inner Buthidaung Township, not in the border area. Moreover, when we informed the Nasaka officers about the robber, the officers beat us because were unable to defend ourselves against the robbers. Now we are facing many difficulties living in our village."

During December, 2010, a large robbery also took place in Shwet Bying Village under Zaydi Bying circle in Rathidaung Township. The villagers lost 30 million kyat of property. The robbery was also committed by a group of armed Muslim dacoits.

The Muslim robbers have never robbed any Muslim villages in the area, having so far only struck Buddhist villages in Buthidaung Township. Because of this, many ordinary citizens, including those in the Muslim community, are anxious that the robberies might foment conflict and lead to riots among the people in the area.


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