Extremist Buddhists have once again laid a brutal siege to areas where the Rohingya Muslims are residing in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, reports say. The extremist Buddhists have surrounded the Muslim areas of the state capital Sittwe as well as the city of Maungdaw and have set up several checkpoints.
According to media reports, people in the besieged areas stay indoors because they are terrified of the ongoing deadly sectarian violence. Families have lost their income as most of the men have fled the area in fear of being murdered by the extremist Buddhists. Myanmar’s army and police have been deployed to the region but they have turned a blind eye to abuses of the Muslims by the Rakhine Buddhists. This is while the army and the police forces have raided several houses and abducted dozens of Muslims including women and there are reports of sexual abuse of the female detainees. In an incident, the police forces raided a house in the Marjalipara village in the Rakhine State on Thursday and took a woman and her daughter when they could not find the father of the family. The army forces sexually abused the abductees and finally released them after receiving money. The silence of the human rights organizations towards abuses against the Rohingya Muslims has emboldened the extremist Buddhists and Myanmar’s government forces. The Buddhist-majority government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, who it claims are not natives and classifies as illegal migrants, although the Rohingya are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century. According to reports, thousands of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are living in dire conditions in refugee camps after government forces and Buddhist extremists started burning down their villages on August 10. The UN human rights authorities blame Myanmar’s security forces for the violence, who are believed to have been targeting the Muslims rather than bringing the ethnic violence to an end in the country.