Rohingya Muslims continue persecution of Hindus and Buddhists in Myanmar: Over 5,000 houses torched amid escalating communal tensions

Over 5,000 houses belonging to Buddhists and Hindus set ablaze by Rohingyas in Myanmar

The situation in Myanmar remains dire, with intensified clashes between the military-led junta and ethnic rebel groups, particularly in Rakhine State. Tensions have escalated into communal violence, with reports indicating that nearly 5,000 houses belonging to Buddhists and Hindus were destroyed in Buthidaung, located just 25 km from the Bangladesh border.

“These 5,000 houses were targeted because they belonged to Buddhists and Hindus. Many residents had fled to safer areas, leaving houses empty, but those who remained were forcibly removed, and their homes were looted and burned before their eyes. Conscripts, including young boys from Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, were used for this operation,” a source revealed.

The destruction occurred between April 11th and 21st. Buthidaung is now under the control of the ethnic rebel group Arakan Army.

“In the 2018 census, Buthidaung had 3,000 houses. This number has since more than tripled to 10,000 as people fled other areas to settle here. Over 50 per cent of residents are Muslims, with the remainder being Buddhists and Hindus,” a source reported.

Communal tensions in Rakhine State, which flared more than a decade ago, led to a significant exodus of Rohingyas, many of whom sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

“Some Rohingyas from refugee camps are being forced into conscription. While some manage to flee, others are compelled to fight civilians. This divide-and-rule strategy will worsen the situation on the ground,” a source added.

Thousands of young people across Myanmar have fled to safer areas, with some crossing into other countries to avoid forced conscription.

Recently, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, Hasan Mahmud, expressed hope that the Rohingya refugees they are sheltering would return to Myanmar. It is estimated that there are one million Rohingyas in Bangladesh.

Additionally, 138 Myanmar military personnel, including a lieutenant colonel and two majors, have taken refuge in Bangladesh. “They will be sent back just like other military personnel were repatriated,” Mahmud stated last week, noting that the Rohingyas also want to return.

Meanwhile, those who have fled face survival challenges due to a lack of livelihood opportunities.

The monsoon season, which begins in a few weeks, offers the only respite. Mobility became restricted, and clashes on the ground reduced drastically for nearly two months.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia