Group says death toll in Arakan higher than gov’t figures

Group says death toll in Arakan higher than gov’t figures

The actual death toll following the recent unrest in Arakan state is about six times higher than the figures quoted by the government says the National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD).

The NDPD’s Hla Thein said that around 500 people were killed during the unrest that erupted in western Burma in late October. The government claims that 87 people were killed.

“According to our statistics, there are around 500 people killed and most of them were Muslim. We have extensive details including their names, age, house address and type of weapons used,” said Hla Thein.

He said the NDPD warned the government in Arakan state several times about the potential for unrest before the riots kicked off on 21 October.

“There were [threats of violence] ahead of the riots – we knew Kyaukphyu was going to burn and repeatedly warned concerned government authorities about it but they kept on saying ‘we got it’ and then the town was burnt down,” said Hla Thein.

“There is a security presence on the ground now, but the government has yet to bring rule of law to the region.”

The party released a statement on 25 October claiming the unrest in western Burma had led to ‘ethnic cleansing’ as the government failed to effectively install rule of law in the region.

The NDPD competed in the 2010 elections and fielded several candidates from Arakan state; however, they did not win any seats in the Lower or Upper Houses of Parliament.

Arakan state’s Information Department was unavailable for comment.

According to government statistics, more than 150 people were killed and 110,000 residents have been displaced in Arakan state since rioting broke out in June this year.

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