“My family and I haven’t gone out in days. We’re afraid that if we do, we might get killed”
On Friday, I and many others went to the mosque near my house to pray for the Muslims who were killed in the bus attack. Security forces soon arrived, and asked us to stop praying. We continued, and so they opened fire. One person was killed; two others wounded. Everyone panicked and ran back to their houses.Friends told me that later that night, in the nearby village of Napala, some Rohingya decided to get revenge by burning Rhakine people’s houses. After that, the violence spread to the state’s capital, Sittwe. Maungdaw, however, remains paralysed.There’s a curfew at night, but we don’t dare go out during the day, either. I have a wife and four children; we haven’t left our home since Friday. We’re afraid that if we go out, we might get killed. There are soldiers and security forces everywhere, patrolling the streets. We’ve heard a lot of gunshots, and have seen smoke from nearby houses being burned. I’m afraid we’re going to run out of food. I don’t know what to do. If it doesn’t calm down, we will have to try to flee – but I don’t know where we’ll go, since I hear Rohingya people who are trying to cross into Bangladesh are being turned around.At this point, I believe the goal of the local Rhakine people, backed by the authorities, is to either chase us out, or kill us.
“I saw Rohingya and Rakhine fighting each other with homemade weapons, like swords and slingshots”
Rohingya people set fire to the downtown area. A lot of the houses are already burned down. They also set fire to a Hindu shrine. When I arrived in the city, I saw local Rahkine people and police trying to put the fire out and save the shrine.Our Observer, through Skype, showed us smoke billowing from downtown Sittwe.They’ve also set fire to many Buddhist temples, so it appears as if they’re trying to turn this into a religious conflict. Some angry Rakhine, in response, tried to burn down a mosque, but the police stopped them.I saw Rohingya and Rakhine fighting each other with homemade weapons, like swords and slingshots. I heard sounds that resembled Molotov cocktails, too. Many Rakhine are guarding their homes with homemade weapons. A lot of the Rohingya have fled to the mountains, but some have remained here in Sittwe to fight. The police are trying to get the situation under control, but they aren’t shooting at anyone – I’ve seen them shoot in the air, just to frighten people.I think this conflict was started by a few Rohingya people, and that not all are to blame. Those who are peaceful should be allowed to stay, and maybe even get citizenship – but not those who are attacking local residents. The Burmese government should consider taking action on illegal migrants, because there are so many Rohingya here in Rakhine state, and they have not assimilated. Most of them cannot even speak the local language or Burmese.