A mob stoned the home of a local Muslim family who own a goat slaughterhouse in Taungdwingyi, central Burma, before moving on to a nearby mosque last night. When police officers formed a barricade to protect the mosque, the mob took to smashing the doors of neighbouring houses.
Burma’s Information Committee said that as many as 70 people attacked the houses — presumably the homes of Muslims –and that many were carrying weapons such as machetes. Some 400 bystanders reportedly watched as the violence unfolded.
Police security forces eventually broke up the melee, according to a statement by the Information Committee. No casualties were reported.
One rioter, named as Hnin Ko Ko Lin, was arrested on Sunday night and interrogated by police, who said that he admitted to attacking the houses because he was enraged by the Rohingya crisis unfolding in northwestern Arakan State.
Four other persons were subsequently arrested the following day; they were named as: Soe Thu (33), Thein Zan Htay (22), Naing Aung Htet (27), and Sithu Aung (18).
According to a government announcement from the Information Committee on Monday, a mobile phone accessories shop, a tea shop, a grocery store and a betel stand were also damaged in the attacks.
The slaughterhouse and mosque are located in Shwe Kyar Inn (1) ward on the Taungdwingyi-Magwe highway, about 100 kilometres northwest of Burma’s capital Naypyidaw.
Measures are being taken to identify and arrest the other perpetrators involved in the incident, said the Information Committee, which was until recently a branch of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Office of the State Counsellor.
Meanwhile, security personnel have been increased at various potential flashpoints around the country as Burma prepares for any further repercussions in the wake of communal violence and apparent acts of terrorism in Arakan State involving Rohingya Muslim militants.
In Kawthaung, a port in Tenasserim Division situated near the southernmost point of Burma, security forces will be beefed up throughout the city “until further notice”, said Saw Moe Shay, chief police officer at Kawthaung township police station.
Speaking to DVB this morning, he said that heightened security measures are in place due to the increased possibility of bombings.
“Early evening and late-night patrols are being conducted [by security forces] at all entrances to the city, whether by sea or road,” he said. “Kawthaung is geographically close to southern Thailand where several terrorist groups reside.”
This report was updated at 07:30 on 12 September 2017.