Myanmar: Fire ravages 56 shelters in mostly Muslim camp

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

YANGON, Myanmar (AA) – Hundreds of Muslim families were evacuated from their temporary homes early Tuesday after a fierce blaze broke out in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

A senior police officer told Anadolu Agency by phone that the fire destroyed 56 wooden homes in the squalid Baw Du Pha camp near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where around 10,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, have been living for almost four years.

“It started around 9 a.m. (0230GMT) and lasted for about 1-1/2 hours,” said the officer, who requested not to be named as he was not authorized to talk to media.

“No casualty or injury was reported so far.”

He added that those staying in the camp were “Bengali” — a term used by to refer to “Rohingya,” that suggests the ethnicity is not from Myanmar as they claim but interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh.

According to a website report by Eleven Media, one of the occupants of the homes remains missing.

The Rohingya have lived in the camp since 2012, when Buddhist rioters rampaged through villages in Sittwe, torching Rohingya houses and attacking people with machetes and other crude weapons.

Since then, around 140,000 Rohingya — and some Muslim Kaman — have been unable to return to their villages, confined to a swathe of land in the camps, where they are often denied basic healthcare.