A fire razed a number of Muslim Rohingya houses in the west side of Duchira Dan village in Muangdaw Township on Tuesday night, though no casualties have been reported.
Duchira Dan [also written Du Char Yar Tan] is the same village in restive northern Arakan State where it is alleged that a policeman was abducted on 13 January by a mob of Rohingya Muslims. The UN says it has credible evidence that, subsequently, a retaliatory attack against Rohingya villagers in the east side of the village left dozens dead.
The Burmese government were quick to lay the blame for Tuesday’s blaze on the Rohingyas themselves, stating that the Bengalis [Rohingyas] “burnt their own houses and fled”. The Ministry of Information said on Wednesday that five “Bengalis” were seen fleeing the scene of the fire which reportedly broke out at a Rohingya house at 8:45pm.
“Due to [the] density of houses in the area built with thatches and bamboo, four large houses and 12 small ones – 16 in total – were destroyed in the fire,” the Ministry said.
But according to Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, an NGO that supports Rohingya issues, it is still “unclear” how the fire started.
Lewa told DVB on Wednesday that a local source reported to her organisation that “some Rakhines [Arakanese Buddhists] from outside the area” had been seen in Duchira Dan on Tuesday night.
She said that 18 to 22 Rohingya homes were razed in the blaze and that looting allegedly took place.
Maungdaw Police Station has opened an investigation into the incident, state media reported.