Muslim affairs group seeks justice in Htan Gone

Muslim affairs group seeks justice in Htan Gone

The Myanmar Muslim National Affairs Federation (MMNAF) has pledged to push the Burmese government to take action against the rioters who burnt down Muslim homes and properties in Sagaing division’s Kanbalu township on 14 August, and to ensure that residents displaced by the attack are rehabilitated to their original neighborhoods.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that villagers are returned to their original locations and push for action against the rioters,” said Kyaw Khin, the MMNAF general-secretary.

More than 50 Muslim homes, a rice mill, a chicken farm and over a dozen shops were destroyed in a riot that took place in Htan Gone village on 24-25 August. Over 300 displaced residents are currently sheltered in an Islamic school.

Kyaw Khin said officials from the MMNAF’s Mandalay headquarters on 27 August paid a visit to the village to inspect the damage first-hand and to hand out aid to the displaced victims.

Sagaing upper house MP Myint Naing also visited the town and made a donation of two million kyat (over US$20,000) to the displaced. But he said that how and where the villagers are rehabilitated is a decision for the local government.

“The Muslim quarter of Htan Gone is somewhat spread out,” he said. “The displaced villagers should have the right to be returned to their former neighborhoods, but this is a matter for the government.”

Myint Naing asserted that the majority of the rioters were not residents of Htan Gone but were from nearby areas.

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About a dozen individuals have been detained by police for questioning with regards to Saturday night’s anti-Muslim violence.

Htan Gone police have so far declined to elaborate on what charges will be brought against those detained nor did they disclose where the alleged rioters were being held, however they emphasised that calm had now been restored to the town.

Since June last year, various parts of Burma have been ravaged by anti-Muslim riots, the initial incident triggering the violence being the alleged rape and murder of a local Buddhist woman by three Muslim youths in Arakan state.

President Thein Sein has indicated publicly that certain unnamed groups were behind the violence and that the attacks were coordinated.

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