As the widely acknowledged site of a massacre, the village of Inn Din in northern Rakhine seemed a peculiar place for Myanmar government officials to kick off a foreign press tour.
Walking into the rain-soaked village more than a year later, there were no specific signs of the outburst of sudden, gruesome violence that killed 10 Rohingya Muslims, and no trace of the mass grave in which they were buried.
However, the legacy of the larger campaign of murder, rape and destruction that swept across the state last year was unmistakable: The village’s entire Rohingya Muslim population was gone.
Their homes have been burned, their neighbourhoods gutted down to charred tree trunks.
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Not a single Muslim villager was left.
“I don’t think they will come back,” said Kyaw Soe Moe, the village’s administrator.
A crop of homes recently built nearby will house new Rakhine Buddhist and Hindu residents, he said.
Victims and a variety of outside investigators accuse Myanmar’s military of planning the attack on the Rohingya minority in what the UN and human rights groups describe as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar says its forces were acting to protect citizens against terrorists who operate among the Rohingya, a population many in this country consider to be illegal immigrants — outsiders they call “Bengalis” despite the fact they’ve lived in the country for generations.
The exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya, the majority of whom fled on foot north to Bangladesh, has altered Rakhine, a long-neglected state twisted by poverty and internecine tension. Conditions are so hostile, the exodus quietly continues even now.
And recent developments on the ground have raised concerns that the sudden, gaping absence is being entrenched.
On a rare media tour of northern Rakhine, several construction projects could be seen in among the paddy fields, with new blue-roofed housing standing out in the lush green. Men were busy working under the hot sun to expand the roads. All of it, local officials insist, in an effort to develop a poor state for the benefit of all its ethnic groups.
Sep 27, 2020Bangladesh is hosting more than one million Rohingya, a mainly Muslim minority community who are stateless, most of whom fled following a wave of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017. “More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The problem was created by Myanmar, and its solution must […]
Sep 26, 2020