SITTWE, 25 June 2012 (IRIN) – An uneasy calm prevails in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, following weeks of communal violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.
“We’re still shocked. We worry whether such unrest could happen again,” Myat Hla, 46, told IRIN, sitting on the concrete floor of Sutaung Pyae monastery outside the city, where close to 2,000 displaced Rakhine residents are living.
She and other Buddhist residents in her village allege they were attacked by Muslim Rohingyas, who destroyed their homes. Now they wonder when or if they will be able to go back again. “How can we feel safe and secure? Should we [Buddhists] and they [Muslims] be forced to live together like before?” asked 64-year-old Tun Thein.
The recent bloody unrest is viewed as a major test for the reform-minded government of Burmese President Thein Sein, who declared a state of emergency in the area on 10 June. A wave of violence erupted on 8 June following the rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman in late May, allegedly by three Muslim Rohingya men.
For more on this story, visit: IRIN Asia | MYANMAR: Uneasy calm in Rakhine | Myanmar | Conflict | Refugees/IDPs.