‘We don’t know when we will be dead:’ Fear grips Rohingya in Myanmar

YANGON: From his home in Maungdaw, a northern town in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Rakhine state, a Rohingya man watches the houses of his friends and family burn down in the distance.
“I am seeing the fire in the sky,” the man says, asking not to be named for fear of reprisals.
Hundreds have been killed and at least 38,000 ethnic Rohingas have fled across the border to Bangladesh since August 25, when Rohingya militants attacked dozens of police posts.
The attacks, which killed 12 people, have ushered in the worst violence in Myanmar since communal riots rocked the country in 2012. The army has been accused of setting fire to villages and shooting Rohingyas indiscriminately during its response, and some Rohingya men in Bangladesh are reported to have snuck across the border to join the fighting.
The official death toll in the clashes stood at close to 400 on Friday, according to an army statement. “Oh God, I think it’s absolutely a disaster,” says Chris Lewa, Director of the Arakan Project, a nonprofit that monitors the situation in Rakhine.
“One-by-one they are burning all the villages,” Lewa says.
“We don’t know when we will be dead,” says Hla Tun, a Rohingya man from the village of Myo Thu Gyi, speaking to dpa by phone as he runs from village to village seeking shelter.
Speaking to diplomats on Tuesday, National Security Adviser Thaung Tun said ARSA was planning to establish an “IS” in the northern part of Rakhine, where Rohingyas make up a majority.
— dpa