Radio Free Asia’s Interview With A Muslim Fleeing To The Sea

The following is the transcript of Radio Free Asia’s interview with a Muslim man who was fleeing in the sea to escape riots in Kyaut Phyu township, Arakan state. The original interview in Burmese language was aired on October 24, 2012.

RFA: Mr. Maung Ni, where are you now?
Ans: We are at Kyaut Phyu, in the sea by motorboats.

RFA: Which quarter in Kyaut Phyu do you live?
Ans: We live in the east of Kyaut Phyu. It’s called Pait Saet or Kalar Pait Saet.

RFA: Why are you there in the sea, elaborate to me ?
Ans: We don’t have our homes anymore as all were destroyed. We have been chased [by Rakhines] or raided by rods and swords. So, we are fleeing to the sea by boats.

RFA: How many of you are there now?  Families or individual?
Ans: We are at sea now as we fled because they were chasing us with swords. They had also destroyed all of our houses.

RFA: How many of you are there? Are they your families?
Ans: Yes, families and relatives. There are also other people and about 7,000 in total.

RFA: How many?
Ans: About 7,000.

RFA: Where are those 7,000?
Ans: They are floating in the sea at Kyaut Phyu. Yes, of course, total of about 7,000.

RFA: How are they staying in the sea? Are they in boats?
Ans: They are in boats, sir.

RFA: Where are those 7,000 from? Tell me.
Ans: They are also from eastern Kalar Pait Saet .

RFA: Tell me the latest situation of your quarter as you saw.
Ans: There is no single house left in our quarter. As being nowhere to live, we came here by boats.

RFA: Didn’t the army or police protect you from rioters? Didn’t they prevent rioters from burning houses?
Ans: Yes, they did. But they are unable to protect us well because there are too many rioters. That’s why we fleet from the area.

RFA: How many military personnel are there? How do they protect you?
Ans: I saw 20-30 soldiers.

RFA: Did this event start from last night or this morning?
Ans: There were fewer attacks last night, but more attacks took place this morning since 8 AM.

RFA: More attacks took place at 8 AM today, is that correct?
Ans: Yes, more today started from 8 AM.

RFA: Tell me what you saw last night – from the beginning to the latest situation.
Ans: What happened was, since 8 PM last night, they started burning down Muslim houses in our quarter.

RFA: How many of them? What did you see?
Ans: There were army units and there are [unclear answer].

RFA: Did you see by yourself or you heard it from someone else?
Ans: I was there. Fire department was there. Together with the military, I was extinguishing fire.

RFA: How many houses were burnt down?
Ans: About 50 at that time. As I saw it by myself, it’s correct. Together with the army, I was extinguishing fire.

RFA: You and the army together extinguishing fire, is that correct?
Ans: Yes, yes. Fire department also came, but the fire couldn’t be extinguished completely.

RFA: So?
Ans: Rakhines came again and set on fire our mosque.

RFA: Where was it?
Ans: The old mosque.

RFA: Where was it? Was it in Kyaut Phyu?
Ans: Near Kalar Pait Saet office in Kyaut Phyu.

RFA: Is the mosque still there? What happened?
Ans: The mosque was not burnt down completely last night. But today at 8 am, the mosque (two mosques) were burnt down completely. When Rakhines started burning, Muslims tried to resist and retaliate. When Rakhines retreated a little bit, the army opened fire and three Muslim youth were shot dead.

RFA: Where are they from? Tell me whose children they are.
Ans: They are from our quarter.

RFA: Did you see it by yourself or heard it from elsewhere?
Ans: I was right beside there. My son was also there.

RFA: Why did the army open fire? Tell me about the incident.
Ans: When Rakhines came to set the mosque on fire, Muslims tried to counterattack with rods and swords. The army opened fire randomly and three Muslims got killed. Another 10 person got wounded.

Leave a Reply