A gathering of radical nationalists led by Buddhist monks reportedly converged on Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township last night in what they claimed was a search for ‘illegal Bengalis’, referring to Rohingyas seeking refuge from military violence and persecution in Rakhine State.
The mob, reportedly numbering over 100 and affiliated with the anti-Muslim Ma Ba Tha group, came in several cars to the mostly Muslim area at around 10:30pm and searched for Rohingyas through the night. They reportedly entered a home claiming ‘Bengalis’ were inside.
A Facebook post by nationalist activist suggests that the gathering was planned in advance.
Some witnesses said a group of Muslim residents gathered to confront the Buddhist mob, which also demonstrated outside the local police station.
Two Muslim men were later admitted to a local hospital after they were beaten by members of the Buddhist group. One is reported to have been severely injured.
MPs, immigration officials, and local administrators came to the area to quell the tensions, and the mob began to disperse early this morning after police came and fired two warning shots at them.
Last night’s violence comes less than two weeks after a similar Buddhist-nationalist mob forcibly shut down two Muslim schools in Thaketa Township in eastern Yangon.
Last night’s violence comes less than two weeks after a similar Buddhist-nationalist mob forced local officials to shut down two Muslim schools in Thaketa Township in eastern Yangon, claiming the schools were holding prayers illegally.