Mob in Myanmar blocks relief supplies while fatal road accident hits truck carrying food to refugees in Bangladesh.
• Several hundred people tried to stop a boat being loaded with 50 tonnes of aid
• Some protestors carried sticks and metal bars and threw petrol bombs
• Eight people were detained, according to the government information office
A 300-strong Buddhist mob in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe gathered late on Wednesday at a jetty where a boat carrying relief goods was preparing to travel up river to Maungdaw, Reuters news agency said.
The mob forced the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to unload the aid from the boat and prevented the vessel from leaving, state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting Myanmar’s Information Committee.
Police officers arrived as the crowd neared the jetty, while Buddhist monks also tried to calm the mob, but people began to hurl “stones and Molotov [cocktails] at the riot police” the report said.
Eight people were detained and several police were injured before order was restored. The ICRC confirmed the incident and said it would continue to try and deliver relief to the area.
“We will carry on, nothing has been put on hold,” Graziella Leite Piccoli, ICRC spokeswoman for Asia.
Protesters, some carrying sticks and metal bars, threw petrol bombs and about 200 police were forced to disperse them by shooting into the air, a witness and the government information office said.
The witness said he saw some injured people. Eight people were detained, the information office said. None of the aid workers were hurt, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.
The spokeswoman, Maria Cecilia Goin, said the crowd had approached the boat to ask Red Cross workers what they were doing.
“All emergency support done by the organization and in the movement is done in a neutral and impartial manner,” she said, citing what the workers had told the crowd before authorities intervened.
The protest was a testament to rising communal animosity that threatens to complicate the delivery of vital supplies.
Tension between majority Buddhists and Rohingya in Rakhine state has simmered for years but it has exploded in violence several times over the past few years, as old prejudices have surfaced with the end of decades of military rule.
Meanwhile US President Donald Trump wants the United Nations Security Council to take “strong and swift action” to end the violence, US Vice President Mike Pence said, declaring the crisis a threat to the region and world.
Mr Pence repeated a US call for the Myanmar military to end the violence and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution for the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in a country where many Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants.It was the strongest US government response yet to the violence.
US deputy assistant secretary of state Patrick Murphy is in Myanmar and was due to meet government officials and representatives of different communities in Sittwe.
Suu Kyi addressed the nation on Tuesday and condemned abuses and said all violators would be punished, adding that she was committed to peace and the rule of law. However, she did not address U.N. accusations of ethnic cleansing by the military, which is in charge of security.
Sources : Indian Express