Myanmar: Mob attacked ICRC aid boat meant for Rohingyas

Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar tried to block a shipment of aid to Muslims in troubled Rakhine state on Wednesday as protesters threw petrol bombs before police dispersed them by firing into the air.

About 300 people assembled in the Buddhist-majority Rakhine state’s capital Sittwe on late Wednesday at a jetty where a boat-carrying 50 tonnes relief materials including clothes, water buckets and mosquito nets-was preparing for the journey up river into Maungdaw and prevented the boat from leaving.

The shipment, organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was bound for the north of Rakhine state where coordinated attacks by the Rohingya militants, Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA) on 25 August on 30 police posts and a military base sparked a massive army crackdown.

Several hundred-people tried to stop a boat being loaded with about 50 tonnes of aid at a dock in the Rakhine State capital of Sittwe late on Wednesday.

The protesters, some carrying sticks and metal bars, threw petrol bombs and about 200 police were forced to disperse them by shooting into the air.

Myanmar police fired warning shots to disperse the mob, members of which pelted stones at the police. Someone from the mob also threw petrol bombs. Several policemen were stated to be injured.

Police detained eight people before order was restored last night.

Communal tensions remain very high across Rakhine state where raids by Rohingya militants, Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA), on 25 August sparked a massive army crackdown and an unprecedented exodus of the Muslim group.

Around 4,20,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled conflict-stricken Rakhine state since 25 August and taken shelter neighbouring Bangladesh.

A nine-member Advisory Commission on Rakhine State headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was formed last year by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation to look into ways to solve sectarian tensions between Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in Rakhine.

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