Mob attack hampers urgently-needed Rohingya aid

Mob attack hampers urgently-needed Rohingya aid
2 min read
21 September, 2017
A 300-strong Buddhist mob in Rakhine's state capital Sittwe forced the ICRC to unload aid from a boat and prevented the vessel from leaving, local media reported on Thursday.
Aid groups fear that tens of thousands trapped in Rakhine state are desperate [Anadolu]
Myanmar police clashed with an angry mob blocking an aid shipment in Rakhine state, hampering urgently-needed relief efforts for Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence.

A 300-strong Buddhist mob in Rakhine's state capital Sittwe massed late on Wednesday at a jetty where a boat carrying relief goods was preparing to travel up river to hard-hit Maungdaw.

They 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 they 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, told AFP.

Communal tensions remain high across Rakhine where raids by Rohingya militants at the end of last month sparked a massive military onslaught, driving more than 420,000 people into Bangladesh in what the UN calls a campaign of "ethnic cleansing".

Aid groups fear that tens of thousands trapped in Rakhine state are desperate for support, even though humanitarian access is still hampered despite the government's promise to allow safe passage.

The crisis has prompted a global chorus of condemnation against the country's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for refusing to blame Myanmar's powerful military for the crackdown, which French President Emmanuel Macron said amounted to "genocide".